GarcŪa Lorca (1898 - 1936) was born in
Spain, a few miles outside of Granada in Andalusia. From an early age,
his gifts for drawing, music, poetry and theater were apparent. He also
drank in Spain's mixed culture, adapting folk songs, ballads, lullabies, and
flamenco music into his writings. By the age of thirty, he published five
books of poetry, culminating with his most popular book Gypsy Ballads.
Thereafter, he devoted much of his time to writing and producing plays,
creating a touring experimental theater group called "La Barraca." In
August 1936, at the outset of the Spanish Civil War, he was executed by Franco
loyalists and dumped in an unmarked grave.
From Poet in New York
Return from a Walk
Assassinated by the sky,
between forms moving towards the serpent
and forms that seek the crystal,
I will let my hair grow.
With the tree stumps that do not sing
and the boy with the face of white egg.
With the little animals with broken heads
and the tatter of dry-footed water.
With the deaf-mutes of weariness
and the butterfly drowned in the inkwell.
Stumbling over my face different each day,
assassinated by the sky!
Those eyes of mine from 1910
saw no dead man buried,
no ashen fairs of mourners at dawn,
no heart quivering in its corner like a sea horse.
Those eyes of mine from 1910
saw only the pale wall where the girls tinkled,
the snout of the bull, the poisonous mushroom,
and the incomprehensible moon that illuminated dried lemon rinds
under the hard black bottles in the corners.
Those eyes of mine on the neck of the pony,
on the pierced breast of the sleeping Saint Rosa,
on the tiled rooftops of love, with moans and fresh hands,
on a garden where cats ate the frogs.
Attic where the ancient dust congregates statues and mosses,
boxes that keep the silence of devoured crabs
in the place where the dream squabbled with its reality.
My small eyes are there.
Donít ask me any questions. I have seen how things
that seek their way find the void instead.
There are spaces that ache in the uninhabited air
and in my eyes only children dressed without their nakedness!
New York, August 1929.
Fable And Round of the Three Friends
The three of them were frozen:
Enrique in the world of the bed;
Emilio in the world of eyes and wounded hands,
Lorenzo in the world of roofless universities.
The three of them were burning:
Lorenzo in the world of leaves and billiard balls;
Emilio in the world of blood and white pins;
Enrique in the world of the dead and abandoned newspapers.
The three of them were buried:
Lorenzo in Floraís breast;
Emilio in a forgotten glass of gin;
Enrique in the ant, the sea and the empty eyes of the birds.
the three of them in my hands were
three Chinese mountains,
three shadows of horses,
three snowy landscapes and one cabin of lilies
by the dovecotes where the moon lies flat beneath the rooster.
The three of them were mummified,
by the flies of winter,
by the inkwells that dogs piss and burrs despise,
by the breeze that freezes the heart of every mother,
by Jupiter's white wreckage where the drunkards snack on death.
I saw them lose themselves weeping and singing
by a henís egg,
in the night that showed its tobacco skeleton,
in my sorrow full of faces and stabbing splinters of moon,
in my joy of gears and whips,
in my chest disturbed by doves,
by my deserted death with a single mistaken passerby.
I had killed the fifth
and the fans and applause drank water from the fountains,
Lukewarm milk locked up in the woman who just gave birth
shook the roses with a long white pain.
Diana is hard,
but sometimes her breasts grow cloudy.
The white stone may pulse in the blood of a stag
and the stag can dream through the eyes of a horse.
When the pure forms sank
in the cri-cri of daisies,
I knew they had assassinated me.
They combed the cafes, cemeteries and churches,
they opened the wine-casks and closets,
destroyed three skeletons to take their gold teeth.
But they couldnít find me.
They did not find me?
No. They did not find me.
But it was known the sixth moon fled above the torrent,
and the seaó suddenly!ó remembered
the names of all it had drowned.
(Ballad of the Great War)
I had a son whose name was John.
I had a son.
Friday of All Soulís he was lost in the arches.
I saw him playing on the uppermost steps of the Mass
and he lowered a tin bucket into the heart of the priest.
I pounded on the coffins. My son! My son! My son!
I pulled a henís leg from behind the moon and soon
realized that my girl had become a fish
by where the carts move into the distance.
I had a girl.
I had a dead fish under the ash of the censers.
I had a sea. Of what? My God! A sea!
I climbed up to ring the bells, but the fruits were wormy,
and the snuffed-out matches
ate the spring wheat.
I saw the transparent stork of alcohol
pick clean the black heads of dying soldiers
and I saw the rubber cabins
where the revolving goblets overflowed with tears.
I will find you in the Eucharistís gift of anemonesómy heart!ó
when the priest lifts the mule and the ox with his strong arms,
to frighten the nocturnal toads that roam the frozen landscapes of the
I had a son who was a giant,
but the dead are more powerful and can devour pieces of sky.
If my boy had been a bear,
I would not have feared the crocodileís stealth,
or seen the sea lashed to the trees
to be ravaged and bled by a rabble of troops.
If my boy had been a bear!
I will lie down and wrap myself in this hard canvas to not feel the cold of
I know very well I will be given shirt sleeves or a necktie;
but in the middle of Mass I will break the rudder and then
the insanity of penguins and gulls will come to the stone
and make those who sleep and sing on street corners say:
he had a son.
A son! A son! A son
who was his alone, because he was his son!
His son! His son! His son!
To Luis de la Serna
So much effort!
The effort of the horse to be a dog!
The effort of the dog to be a swallow!
The effort of the swallow to be a bee!
The effort of the bee to be horse!
And the horse,
what a sharp arrow it makes of the rose,
what a gray rose rises out of its under-lip!
And the rose,
what a flock of lights and howls
bound in the live sugar of its stem!
And the sugar,
what tiny daggers it dreams in its vigils!
And the daggers,
what moon without mangers, what naked bodies,
skin eternal and blushing, they seek out
and I, on the eaves,
what a fiery seraphim I long to be and I am!
But this plaster arch,
how immense, how invisible, how tiny it is
with no effort at all.
Landscape With Two Graves and an
get up so you can hear
the Assyrian dog howling.
The three nymphs of the cancer have been dancing,
They brought mountains of red sealing wax
and the course sheets where cancer slept.
The horse had an eye in its neck
and the moon was in a sky so cold
that it had to rip open its mound of Venus
and drown the old cemeteries in blood and ash.
wake up, the mountains still do not breathe
and the grass in my heart is elsewhere.
It does not matter that you are full of sea water.
I loved a boy for a long time
who had a feather under his tongue
and we lived one hundred years inside a knife.
Wake up. Be silent. Listen. Sit up a little.
is a great purple tongue that leaves behind
the ants of terror and the liquor of lilies.
It already comes near your rock. Donít extend your roots!
It approaches. It moans. Donít sob in your dreams, friend.
Get up so you can hear
the Assyrian dog howling.
ó Translated from the Spanish by Jim Doss
© James B. Doss
Loch Raven Review Spring 2006 Vol. 2, No. 1
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