Saturday, February 4, 2012

John Reed, "¡Quién vive!" Insurgent Mexico

At dawn I woke to the sound of shooting, and a cracked bugle blowing wildly. Juan Sanchez stood in front of the cuartel, sounding Reveille; he didn't know which call Reveille was, so he played them all. 

Patricio had roped a steer for breakfast. The animal started on a plunging, bellowing run for the desert, Patricio's horse galloping alongside. The rest of the Tropa, only their eyes showing over their serapes, kneeled with their rifles to their shoulders. Crash! In that still air, the enormous sound of guns labored heavily up. The running steer jerked sideways,---his screaming reached us faintly. Crash! He fell headlong. His feet kicked in the air. Patricio's pony jerked roughly up, and his serape flapped like a banner. Just then the enormous sun rose bodily out of the east, pouring clear light over the barren plain like a sea...

Pablo emerged from the Casa Grande, leaning on his wife's shoulder.

"I am going to be very ill," he groaned, suiting the action to the word. "Juan Reed will ride my horse." 

He got into the coach, weakly took the guitar, and sang:

Yo estaba al pie de un verde maguey;
Mi amor ingrato con otro se fue;
Desperté con el canto de la alondra:
¡Ay, qué cruda tengo y el cantinero no fía!

¡Oh, Dios, quítame este mal!
Siento como si fuera a morir.
La Virgen del pulque y el aguardiente me salvarán.
¡Ay, qué cruda, y nada de beber! 

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