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by Emilio Prados

translated by Jennifer Barber

The water in the glass
isn’t broken, no:
what’s broken is the glass
whose water spills to the floor.

It isn’t broken, the light
that depends on day:
it’s the age that is broken,
crawling along in the dark.

The blood surging in you
isn’t broken, no:
what’s broken is your body,
pouring out in sleep.

Not the casket of thought
that is broken, no:
what’s broken is the idea
that could have lifted it high.

It isn’t God that is broken,
nor the field He made—
what’s broken is man
who doesn’t see God in his field.


Emilio Prados (b. 1899, d. 1962), from Málaga, Spain, belongs to the generation of ’27 that included Lorca, Vincente Aleixandre, Luis Cernuda, Pedro Salinas, Manuel Altolaguirre, and others. With Altolaguirre, Prados founded the literary magazine Litoral in 1926. Prados left Spain as a result of the Civil War, and spent the rest of his life in Mexico. His Poesías Completas, edited by Carlos Blanco Aguinaga and Antonio Carreira, was published by Visor Libros in Madrid in 1999.

Jennifer Barber
’s recent poetry collection is Rigging the Wind (Kore Press, 2003). She is editor of the journal Salamander. (1/2005)

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