Poems about the Spanish Civil War

Langston Hughes on Barcelona

May 26th, 2010

The Afro-American poet Langston Hughes visited Barcelona in 1937 as a  newspaper correspondent for the Baltimore Afro-American. He saw the terrible destruction in the city caused by the bombing.

I came down from Paris by train. We reached Barcelona at night. The day before had been a terrific air raid in the city, killing about a hundred and wounding a great deal more. We read about it in the papers at the border. Last night, I thought. Well tonight, I’ll be there. Here (October 23, 1937)

He was inspired to write the poem Air raid: Barcelona (from here). The imagery is stark. East is back to Mallorca where Mussolini’s squadrons were based.

The death birds wheel East
To their lairs again
Leaving iron eggs
In the streets of Spain.

Air raid: Barcelona by Langston Hughes


Black smoke of sound
Curls against the midnight sky. Read the rest of this entry

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