Friday, June 05, 2009

Garcia Lorca

Today is Friday, 5 June 2009.

On this day in 1898 was born Federico Garcia Lorca, the great Spanish poet and playwright. He was assassinated on 19 August 1936 by Spanish fascists, partly for his progressive politics, partly because he was gay.

The following is from his poem, “Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias”:

4. Absent Soul

The bull does not know you, nor the fig tree,
nor the horses, nor the ants in your own house.
The child and the afternoon do not know you
because you have died forever.

The shoulder of the stone does not know you
nor the black silk, where you are shuttered.
Your silent memory does not know you
because you have died forever

The autumn will come with small white snails,
misty grapes and clustered hills,
but no one will look into your eyes
because you have died forever.

Because you have died for ever,
like all the dead of the earth,
like all the dead who are forgotten
in a heap of lifeless dogs.

Nobody knows you. No. But I sing of you.
For posterity I sing of your profile and grace.
Of the signal maturity of your understanding.
Of your appetite for death and the taste of its mouth.
Of the sadness of your once valiant gaiety.

It will be a long time, if ever, before there is born
an Andalusian so true, so rich in adventure.
I sing of his elegance with words that groan,
and I remember a sad breeze through the olive trees.

The complete English version (translator not given) is at: Finding the original Spanish is an exercise left to the student.


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