Poem introduction

The battle of the Ebro was the last ditch effort of the Republicans to turn the inexorable tide of this war. The Republicans attacked along the River Ebro crossing in the night in July 1938 and they were defeated in a battle that lasted over three months at great human cost. This next poem has two lines from a Spanish song, and the lines say "Al alba venid buen amigo. / Venid a la luz del dia." which means "Come to the dawn good friend / come to the light of day"

Crossing at Miravet

Crossing at Miravet, 1938

The houses rise up before me unexpectedly.
I can finally see the valley

and the strenuous glimmer that is the Ebro.
A ferry under the poplars, no ferryman.
There is a changing distance to cover.

I listen to the poplars
while I am waiting for the ferry
and look across at the climbed streets

and abandoning houses.
My father sings at the piano.
He closes his eyes.

Al alba venid buen amigo.
Venid a la luz del dia.
I am patient till dawn when the soldiers

will enter the Ebro to cross to Miravet
holding their rifles high above the water.


from Silences from the Spanish Civil War (Enitharmon, 2002), © Jane Duran 2002, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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1Braided Rug

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2Returning

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3Time Zones

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4River

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5Stillborn

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6Miscarriage

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7Snow Pudding

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8The Orange Tree in Cordoba

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9Link

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10Great Grandfathers

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11Introduction to Silences from the Spanish Civil War

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12Spanish Civil War

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13Research

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14Maestrazgo

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15Eye Witness

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16To the Aragon Front

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17Battle of Teruel, Winter 1937-8

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18Sardine Tin

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19Crossing at Miravet, 1938

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20Road to the French Border, 1939

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21Letters, 1940

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22Paterna, 1939-42

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23Not Talking About Franco, 1959

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24Coastline, 1960

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25The Pyrenees

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26Coastal

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27Cape Porpoise, Maine

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28Stroke

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29Coat

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30Hairpins

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31The Past

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32There Are Women

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33Coming About

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34To My Mother and Father

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35Tracks

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36Introduction to Zagharit

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37The Mat

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38Petit Pain

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39What We Know

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40Nightlight

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41Ramy

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42Water

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43What is Written

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44Sabbat

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45Mid-Winter

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46Haircut

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47Mint Tea

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48Coastal Route

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49Confluence

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50El Attaf, 1958

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51Zagharit

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