This is an excerpt from one of Pablo Neruda’s poems about the brutality of Franco and his Fascist forces. It ends with a simile that captures, better than any piece of writing I know, the struggle to use language and thought as a way to make sense of cruelty and brutality:
I’M EXPLAINING A FEW THINGS (excerpt)
And one morning all that was burning,
one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings–
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.
Bandits with planes and Moors,
bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
bandits with black friars spattering blessings
came through the sky to kill children
and the blood of children ran through the streets
without fuss, like children’s blood.