Hasta La Vista - Madrid!

Bob Cooney
©Bob Cooney - all rights reserved

Seven and twenty years? That long?
It seems but yesterday
We left that war torn hill above Gandesa.
Is it perhaps because I'm growing old
That thought now skips so lightly down the years?
And the travail of a quarter century
Melts in the vision of those great days
Those days we lived and knew that we were living

We were at war - and yet we were at peace
We knew a peace we had not known at home
Where conscience nagged
And conflict raged within us.
Spain!
We woke each morning to the thought of Spain
Spain in our thoughts all day
And into each troubled night

Disturbing thoughts - reproaching thoughts
Home was no longer home
For we were in the rear
While the battle raged at the front
Comrades we'd never seen -
Yet knew and loved
How dear they'd grown!
Leaving their ripening crops
To reap a different - bitter - harvest
Fighting a war we knew was rightly ours
Since the Fascist poison weed drew sustenance
From the rotten soil of Cliveden
Making England a dirty word

Our century had to be cleansed
So we went to Spain
Where the defeat of Hitler started
And more than that
For Freedom's an infectious thing
No frontier can contain it
And many a freedom fighter
Who served his stern apprenticeship in Spain
Proved every inch a craftsman in later battles
In the Hitler rear
In Italy and France
In the hills of Yugoslavia
In Germany itself
Even in far off Cuba
Communicating skills to a newer generation
Of freedom fighters
Giving this proof
This guarantee
No freedom fight is ever really lost
While we can learn
Each human mind's an outpost
And the frontiers of Freedom expand
Conquering minds and hearts
Prelude to the conquest of cities and of states
Till the world is wholly free
And then?
We will strive for higher freedoms still

What does El Caudillo see today as he sits and broods
Lonely and afraid in his palace
Now his self-made jail he dare not leave
What does he see?
Hitler - gone!
Mussolini - gone!
Batista - gone!
Who goes next? Salazar?
Or even -
Perish the thought!
But the thought won't perish
In London today
In Paris today
In Warsaw - Prague - and Rio de Janeiro
There are men and women -
exiled these seven and twenty years
But today!
There's a spring in their step
And a meaningful phrase on their lips
A phrase that is more than a phrase -
It is a promise!
A promise to Spain, to themselves, to each other -
And to you, Caudillo
Hasta La Vista - Madrid!

How do you like that promise, Caudillo?
Will you be there?
We'd like to know
For we are coming too!

We also say
Hasta La Vista - Madrid!

There is so much we want to see once more
We will stroll in the Puerto del Sol
And the Ramblas of Barcelona
We will cross the Ebro and drink with our friends in Mora
Friends who will be free!
We will look at them and at each other
And each of us will think
"This is why we came in '36"
And if we live to be a hundred
We'll have this to be glad about
We went to Spain!
Because of that great yesterday
We are part of the greater tomorrow

Hasta La Vista - Madrid!


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