Evil one, neither fire nor hot vinegar
in a nest of volcanic witches, nor devouring ice,
nor the putrid turtle that barking and weeping
with the voice of dead woman scratches your belly
seeking a wedding ring and the toy of a slaughtered child,
will be for you anything but a dark demolished door.

From one hell to another, what difference? In the howling
of your legions, in the holy milk

of the mothers of Spain, in the milk and the bosoms trampled
along the roads, there is one more village, one more silence, a broken
Here you are. Wretched eyelid, dung
of sinister sepulchral hens, heavy sputum, figure
of treason that blood will not erase. Who, who are you,
oh miserable leaf of salt, oh dog of the earth,
of ill-born pallor of shadow?

The flame retreats without ash,
the salty thirst of hell, the circles
of grief turn pale. Cursed one, may only humans
pursue you, within the absolute fire of things may
you not be consumed, not be lost
in the scale of time, may you not be pierced by the burning glass
or the fierce foam. Alone, alone, for the tears
all gathered, for an eternity of dead hands
and rotted eyes, alone in a cave

of your hell, eating silent pus and blood
through a cursed and lonely eternity. You do not deserve to sleep
even though it be with your eyes fastened with pins:
you have to be
awake, General, eternally awake
among the putrefacation of the new mothers,
machine-gunned in the autumn. All and all the sad children cut to
pieces, rigid, they hang, awaiting in your hell
that day of cold festivity: your arrival.

Pablo Neruda
translated by Richard Schaaf

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