It is interesting to consider how  much literature was at least arguably born of the Spanish Civil War.  Pablo Neruda, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, W.H. Auden, George Orwell – all were touched by the war in some way.   Many other works were written in Spanish and have not yet been translated into English.  Many are love poems or stories written by freedom fighters.    

Miguel Hernandez was such a poet.  Although he is not as well known as other Spanish-language poets, his work is now slowly being explored in the West thanks to excellent translations by Ted Genoway and others.  Hernandez, a shepherd boy from eastern Spain, was first a poet and then a soldier.  He was eventually captured and imprisoned.  He died a prisoner of war, of tuberculosis, in 1942. 

My heart can’t go on any longer
putting up with its love-mad and murky storm,
and it raises to my tongue the blood-filled
noisy thing that weighs it down.
Now my tongue, slow and long, is a heart,
and my heart is a tongue, long and slow ….
You want to count up the pain? Go out and count
the sweet grains of the bitter sand.
My heart can’t stand this sadness anymore:
it flies in my blood, along with the floating
ghost of a drowned man, and goes down all alone.
And yesterday, you wrote from your heart
that you have a touch of homesickness –
half for my body, half for the grave.
Miguel Hernandez, “My Heart Can’t Go On Any Longer” (trans. Timothy Baland),
from “The Unending Lightning” (1936)