Sonnet XXI: Tomb of Antonio Machado

Timothy Adès

by Jean Cassou
Saintly heart, Love's spirit flies,
guiding night's angelic band
near the scenes of infamy
your light cannot purify.
From a country turned to sand
they shall bring your noble dust,
bright birds, flying. This they cast
on the living, breathing skies.
Yours again, the fragrancy
of your summers' poignancy.
Nothing shall survive and stay
but an urn, smashed angrily
near Collioure's masonry
where the jailbirds rot away.

Translated by Timothy Adès: one of Cassou's 33 Sonnets, composed in his head in a Vichy prison: book from Arc Publications.

Antonio Machado (1875-1939) was poet and a Republican sympathiser in the Spanish Civil War. He died in Collioure after fleeing Spain after the repbulican defeat. He is buried in the Old Cemetery in Collioure.