Poems by Federico Garc韆Lorca

Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias

1. Cogida and death 

At five in the afternoon. 
It was exactly five in the afternoon. 
A boy brought the white sheet 
at five in the afternoon. 
A frail of lime ready prepared 
at five in the afternoon. 
The rest was death, and death alone. 

The wind carried away the cottonwool 
at five in the afternoon. 
And the oxide scattered crystal and nickel 
at five in the afternoon. 
Now the dove and the leopard wrestle 
at five in the afternoon. 
And a thigh with a desolated horn 
at five in the afternoon. 
The bass-string struck up 
at five in the afternoon. 
Arsenic bells and smoke 
at five in the afternoon. 
Groups of silence in the corners 
at five in the afternoon. 
And the bull alone with a high heart! 
At five in the afternoon. 
When the sweat of snow was coming 
at five in the afternoon, 
when the bull ring was covered with iodine 
at five in the afternoon. 
Death laid eggs in the wound 
at five in the afternoon. 
At five in the afternoon. 
At five o'clock in the afternoon. 

A coffin on wheels is his bed 
at five in the afternoon. 
Bones and flutes resound in his ears 
at five in the afternoon. 
Now the bull was bellowing through his forehead 
at five in the afternoon. 
The room was iridiscent with agony 
at five in the afternoon. 
In the distance the gangrene now comes 
at five in the afternoon. 
Horn of the lily through green groins 
at five in the afternoon. 
The wounds were burning like suns 
at five in the afternoon. 
At five in the afternoon. 
Ah, that fatal five in the afternoon! 
It was five by all the clocks! 
It was five in the shade of the afternoon! 

2. The Spilled Blood 

I will not see it! 

Tell the moon to come, 
for I do not want to see the blood 
of Ignacio on the sand. 

I will not see it! 

The moon wide open. 
Horse of still clouds, 
and the grey bull ring of dreams 
with willows in the barreras. 

I will not see it! 

Let my memory kindle! 
Warm the jasmines 
of such minute whiteness! 

I will not see it! 

The cow of the ancient world 
passed har sad tongue 
over a snout of blood 
spilled on the sand, 
and the bulls of Guisando, 
partly death and partly stone, 
bellowed like two centuries 
sated with threading the earth. 
I will not see it! 

Ignacio goes up the tiers 
with all his death on his shoulders. 
He sought for the dawn 
but the dawn was no more. 
He seeks for his confident profile 
and the dream bewilders him 
He sought for his beautiful body 
and encountered his opened blood 
Do not ask me to see it! 
I do not want to hear it spurt 
each time with less strength: 
that spurt that illuminates 
the tiers of seats, and spills 
over the cordury and the leather 
of a thirsty multiude. 
Who shouts that I should come near! 
Do not ask me to see it! 

His eyes did not close 
when he saw the horns near, 
but the terrible mothers 
lifted their heads. 
And across the ranches, 
an air of secret voices rose, 
shouting to celestial bulls, 
herdsmen of pale mist. 
There was no prince in Sevilla 
who could compare to him, 
nor sword like his sword 
nor heart so true. 
Like a river of lions 
was his marvellous strength, 
and like a marble toroso 
his firm drawn moderation. 
The air of Andalusian Rome 
gilded his head 
where his smile was a spikenard 
of wit and intelligence. 
What a great torero in the ring! 
What a good peasant in the sierra! 
How gentle with the sheaves! 
How hard with the spurs! 
How tender with the dew! 
How dazzling the fiesta! 
How tremendous with the final 
banderillas of darkness! 

But now he sleeps without end. 
Now the moss and the grass 
open with sure fingers 
the flower of his skull. 
And now his blood comes out singing; 
singing along marshes and meadows, 
sliden on frozen horns, 
faltering soulles in the mist 
stoumbling over a thousand hoofs 
like a long, dark, sad tongue, 
to form a pool of agony 
close to the starry Guadalquivir. 
Oh, white wall of Spain! 
Oh, black bull of sorrow! 
Oh, hard blood of Ignacio! 
Oh, nightingale of his veins! 
I will not see it! 
No chalice can contain it, 
no swallows can drink it, 
no frost of light can cool it, 
nor song nor deluge og white lilies, 
no glass can cover mit with silver. 
I will not see it! 

3. The Laid Out Body 

Stone is a forehead where dreames grieve 
without curving waters and frozen cypresses. 
Stone is a shoulder on which to bear Time 
with trees formed of tears and ribbons and planets. 

I have seen grey showers move towards the waves 
raising their tender riddle arms, 
to avoid being caught by lying stone 
which loosens their limbs without soaking their blood. 

For stone gathers seed and clouds, 
skeleton larks and wolves of penumbra: 
but yields not sounds nor crystals nor fire, 
only bull rings and bull rings and more bull rings without walls. 

Now, Ignacio the well born lies on the stone. 
All is finished. What is happening! Contemplate his face: 
death has covered him with pale sulphur 
and has place on him the head of dark minotaur. 

All is finished. The rain penetrates his mouth. 
The air, as if mad, leaves his sunken chest, 
and Love, soaked through with tears of snow, 
warms itself on the peak of the herd. 

What is they saying? A stenching silence settles down. 
We are here with a body laid out which fades away, 
with a pure shape which had nightingales 
and we see it being filled with depthless holes. 

Who creases the shroud? What he says is not true! 
Nobody sings here, nobody weeps in the corner, 
nobody pricks the spurs, nor terrifies the serpent. 
Here I want nothing else but the round eyes 
to see his body without a chance of rest. 

Here I want to see those men of hard voice. 
Those that break horses and dominate rivers; 
those men of sonorous skeleton who sing 
with a mouth full of sun and flint. 

Here I want to see them. Before the stone. 
Before this body with broken reins. 
I want to know from them the way out 
for this captain stripped down by death. 

I want them to show me a lament like a river 
wich will have sweet mists and deep shores, 
to take the body of Ignacio where it looses itself 
without hearing the double planting of the bulls. 

Loses itself in the round bull ring of the moon 
which feigns in its youth a sad quiet bull, 
loses itself in the night without song of fishes 
and in the white thicket of frozen smoke. 

I don't want to cover his face with handkerchiefs 
that he may get used to the death he carries. 
Go, Ignacio, feel not the hot bellowing 
Sleep, fly, rest: even the sea dies! 

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 dead 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. 

Nobady 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 Faithless Wife

So I took her to the river
believing she was a maiden,
but she already had a husband.
It was on St. James night
and almost as if I was obliged to.
The lanterns went out
and the crickets lighted up.
In the farthest street corners
I touched her sleeping breasts
and they opened to me suddenly
like spikes of hyacinth.
The starch of her petticoat
sounded in my ears
like a piece of silk
rent by ten knives.
Without silver light on their foliage
the trees had grown larger
and a horizon of dogs
barked very far from the river.

Past the blackberries,
the reeds and the hawthorne
underneath her cluster of hair
I made a hollow in the earth
I took off my tie,
she too off her dress.
I, my belt with the revolver,
She, her four bodices.
Nor nard nor mother-o?pearl
have skin so fine,
nor does glass with silver
shine with such brilliance.
Her thighs slipped away from me
like startled fish,
half full of fire,
half full of cold.
That night I ran
on the best of roads
mounted on a nacre mare
without bridle stirrups.

As a man, I won抰 repeat
the things she said to me.
The light of understanding
has made me more discreet.
Smeared with sand and kisses
I took her away from the river.
The swords of the lilies
battled with the air.

I behaved like what I am,
like a proper gypsy.
I gave her a large sewing basket,
of straw-colored satin,
but I did not fall in love
for although she had a husband
she told me she was a maiden
when I took her to the river.

The Gypsy and the Wind

Playing her parchment moon
Precosia comes
along a watery path of laurels and crystal lights.
The starless silence, fleeing
from her rhythmic tambourine,
falls where the sea whips and sings,
his night filled with silvery swarms.
High atop the mountain peaks
the sentinels are weeping;
they guard the tall white towers
of the English consulate.
And gypsies of the water
for their pleasure erect
little castles of conch shells
and arbors of greening pine.

Playing her parchment moon
Precosia comes.
The wind sees her and rises,
the wind that never slumbers.
Naked Saint Christopher swells,
watching the girl as he plays
with tongues of celestial bells
on an invisible bagpipe.

Gypsy, let me lift your skirt
and have a look at you.
Open in my ancient fingers
the blue rose of your womb.

Precosia throws the tambourine
and runs away in terror.
But the virile wind pursues her
with his breathing and burning sword.

The sea darkens and roars,
while the olive trees turn pale.
The flutes of darkness sound,
and a muted gong of the snow.

Precosia, run, Precosia!
Or the green wind will catch you!
Precosia, run, Precosia!
And look how fast he comes!
A satyr of low-born stars
with their long and glistening tongues.

Precosia, filled with fear,
now makes her way to that house
beyond the tall green pines
where the English consul lives.

Alarmed by the anguished cries,
three riflemen come running,
their black capes tightly drawn,
and berets down over their brow.

The Englishman gives the gypsy
a glass of tepid milk
and a shot of Holland gin
which Precosia does not drink.

And while she tells them, weeping,
of her strange adventure,
the wind furiously gnashes
against the slate roof tiles. 

Ditty of First Desire

In the green morning
I wanted to be a heart.
A heart.

And in the ripe evening
I wanted to be a nightingale.
A nightingale.

turn orange-colored.
turn the color of love.)

In the vivid morning
I wanted to be myself.
A heart.

And at the evening's end
I wanted to be my voice.
A nightingale.

turn orange-colored.
turn the color of love.

Sonnet of the Sweet Complaint

Never let me lose the marvel
of your statue-like eyesor the accent
the solitary rose of your breath
places on my cheek at night.

I am afraid of beingon this shore
a branchless trunkand what I most regret
is having no flowerpulpor clay
for the worm of my despair.

If you are my hidden treasure
if you are my crossmy dampened pain
if I am a dogand you alone my master

never let me lose what I have gained
and adorn the branches of your river
with leaves of my estranged Autumn.

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