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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