Spain in the Heart
Hymn to the Glories of the People at WarBook - 1997
"My book, Spain in the Heart was printed (during the Spanish Civil War) in a unique way. I believe few books, in the extraordinary history of so many books, have had such a curious birth and destiny.
The soldiers learned to set type. But there was no paper. They found an old paper mill and decided to make it there. A strange mixture was concocted, in the midst of falling bombs, in the midst of battle. They threw everything they could get their hands on into the mill, from an enemy flag to a bloody tunic of a Moorish soldier. And in spite of the unusual materials used and the total inexperience of its manufacturers, the paper turned out to be very beautiful...
My book was the pride of those men who had worked to bring out my poetry in defiance of death, and I learned that many carried copies of the book in their knapsacks, instead of their own food and clothing. With their knapsacks over their shoulders, they set out on the long march to France. The endless column walking to exile was bombed hundreds of times. Soldiers fell and the books were strewn over the road...
The last copies of this impassioned book that was born and perished in the midst of fierce fighting were burned in a bonfire". -- Pablo Neruda, from Memoirs