Duval Is on the Run: The People Are on the March,
Duval sputters at the radio.
|From THE POEMS LOOKED AT: or, NOTES|
Duval Is on the Run: The People Are on the March, By José Maria Quiroga Pla. 1937. Some poems were written by persons in Spain, as, in 1936, Francisco Franco and his fascist associates and assistants were doing all they could to destroy the rather democratic government of Spain.—It is well known that a good cause may not make for so good a poem; but the lines of José Maria Quiroga Pla about a discomfited fascist general, have satire, largeness of feeling, earthiness, space, motion in a manner distinctive of poetry. The music of kind and powerful victory is in the poem. When the people wait for General Duval—"The people waited for him at Navalperal"—a place name mingles with an emotion in a manner that is grand and tingling. We feel that when the poem says: "The red flower of Spanish blood"—it is that. And the retreating general, in the sanctity of personal and governmental reaction, is put in motion with auditory and visible impact. The democratic feeling of Spain—apparently there now—is presented strongly, but without "proletarian" truculence and lack of aesthetic substance. When we are told of "the stones of the Sierras and the rivers, heavy in their flowing," while we are in the midst of the ordinary man's courageous anger, we are with the verbal might, too, of Chevy Chase, Burns, and the Byron of certain stanzas of Childe Harold. We are also with melodious and forceful lines of the Spanish cancionero of centuries ago. Yes, poetry is here, and it is functioning against Francisco Franco, and can still. The poetry of Spain is always waiting to be used again. (Appeared in And Spain Sings: Fifty Loyalist Ballads Adapted by American Poets. Edited by M. J. Benardete and Rolfe Humphries. New York: The Vanguard Press, 1937.)
From Hail, American Development (Definition Press)
© 1968 by Eli Siegel