miguel hernández / el niño yuntero (victor jara)

El niño yuntero

Carne de yugo, ha nacido
más humillado que bello,
con el cuello perseguido
por el yugo para el cuello.

Nace, como la herramienta,
a los golpes destinado,
de una tierra descontenta
y un insatisfecho arado.

Entre estiércol puro y vivo
de vacas, trae a la vida
un alma color de olivo
vieja ya y encallecida.

Empieza a vivir, y empieza
a morir de punta a punta
levantando la corteza
de su madre con la yunta.

Empieza a sentir, y siente
la vida como una guerra
y a dar fatigosamente
en los huesos de la tierra.

Contar sus años no sabe,
y ya sabe que el sudor
es una corona grave
de sal para el labrador.

Trabaja, y mientras trabaja
masculinamente serio,
se unge de lluvia y se alhaja
de carne de cementerio.

A fuerza de golpes, fuerte,
y a fuerza de sol, bruñido,
con una ambición de muerte
despedaza un pan reñido.

Cada nuevo día es
más raíz, menos criatura,
que escucha bajo sus pies
la voz de la sepultura.

Y como raíz se hunde
en la tierra lentamente
para que la tierra inunde
de paz y panes su frente.

Me duele este niño hambriento
como una grandiosa espina,
y su vivir ceniciento
resuelve mi alma de encina.

Lo veo arar los rastrojos,
y devorar un mendrugo,
y declarar con los ojos
que por qué es carne de yugo.

Me da su arado en el pecho,
y su vida en la garganta,
y sufro viendo el barbecho
tan grande bajo su planta.

¿Quién salvará a este chiquillo
menor que un grano de avena?
¿De dónde saldrá el martillo
verdugo de esta cadena?

Que salga del corazón
de los hombres jornaleros,
que antes de ser hombres son
y han sido niños yunteros.

Miguel Hernández

Child of the plough

Flesh of the yoke, he was born
more humbled than handsome,
with his neck plagued
by the neck-yoke.

He is born, like a tool,
destined to receive the blows
of a discontented land
and an unsatisfied plough.

Amongst pure, living cow dung,
he brings into life
a soul the colour of olives,
now old and silent.

He begins to live, and he begins
to die bit by bit
raising the crust
of his mother with the yoked oxen.

He begins to feel, and he feels
life is like a war,
and in his fatigue he knocks
against the bones of the earth.

He cannot count his age,
yet he knows that sweat
is a solemn crown
of salt for the labourer.

He works, and whilst he works,
serious and masculine,
he is anointed with rain and bedecked
with cemetery flesh.

Made strong by repeated blows,
and burnished by the sun,
with an ambition for death
he breaks the bread for which he has fought.

With each new day he is
more like a root, less like a human being,
listening to the voice of the grave
beneath his feet.

And like a root he sinks down
slowly into the earth
so that the earth can flood
his brow with peace and bread.

I am pained by this hungry child,
a skeleton in skin,
and his ashen life
turns over my soul of oak.

I see him plough the stubble,
and devour a scrap of food,
and declare with his eyes
why is he flesh of the yoke.

His plough strikes at my chest,
his life at my throat,
and it pains me to see the earth
so great, so bare beneath his feet.

Who will save this little child,
smaller than an oat grain?
Where is the hammer that will come forth
and smash this chain?

May it come from the hearts
of labouring men,
who before they are men are
and have been children of the plough.

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