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Federico Garcia Lorca - Poems translated in English
F. Garcia Lorca

Federico Garcia Lorca
°1898 +1936


Song of the rider

Tune of first desire

Sonnet of the sweet complaint

Wounds of love

It’s true

Song of the barren orange tree

The gypsy and the wind

The gypsy-nun

The moon Wakes


Romance de la luna, luna

Romance of the sleepwalker


The unfaithful wife

Gacela of unexpected love

Casida of the rose

Casida of the dark doves

O secret voice of hidden love

Song of the rider
Córdoba. Far away, and lonely.
Full moon, black pony, olives against my saddle. Though I know all the roadways I’ll never get to Córdoba. Through the breezes, through the valley, red moon, black pony. Death is looking at me from the towers of Córdoba. Ay, how long the road is! Ay, my brave pony! Ay, death is waiting for me, before I get to Córdoba. Córdoba. Far away, and lonely.

Tune 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. (Soul, turn orange-colored. Soul, turn into 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. Soul, turn orange-colored. Soul, turn into the color of love.

Sonnet of the sweet complaint Never let me lose the marvel of your statue-like eyes, or the accent, the solitary rose of your breath, places on my cheek at night. I am afraid of being on this shore, a branchless trunk, and what I most regret is having no flower, pulp or clay for the worm of my despair. If you are my hidden treasure, if you are my cross, my smothered pain, if I am a dog, and 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.

Wounds of love This light, this flame that devours, this grey country that surrounds me, this pain from a sole idea, this anguish of the sky, earth and hour, this lament of blood that now adorns a lyre with no pulse, lubricious torch, this weight of sea that breaks on me, this scorpion that lives inside my breast, are a garland of love, bed of the wounded, where dreamlessly, I dream of your presence among the ruins of my sunken breast. And though I seek the summit of discretion your heart grants me a valley stretched below, with hemlock and passion of bitter wisdom.

It’s true Ay, the pain it costs me to love you as I love you! For love of you, the air, it hurts, and my heart, and my hat, they hurt me. Who would buy it from me, this ribbon I am holding, and this sadness of cotton, white, for making handkerchiefs with? Ay, the pain it costs me to love you as I love you!

Song of the barren Orange tree Woodcutter, cut my shadow from me. Free me from the torment of seeing myself fruitless. Why was I born among mirrors? The daylight revolves around me and the night copies me in all its constellations. I want to live without seeing myself. I shall dream that husks and insects are my birds and my foliage. Woodcutter, cut my shadow from me. Free me from the torment of seeing myself fruitless.

The gypsy and the Wind Playing her parchment moon Precosia comes along a watery path of laurels and crystals. The starless silence, fleeing from her rhythmic tambourine, falls where the sea pounds and sings, its night filled with silvery swarms. High atop the mountain peaks the sentinels are sleeping; they guard the white towers of the English consulate. And the gypsies of the water for their pleasure erect little castles of conch shells and twigs of green 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. Child, let me lift your skirt and have a look at you. Open in my ancient fingers the blue rose of your belly. Precosia throws the tambourine and runs away in terror. The virile wind pursues her with his hot 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 his 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 Dutch gin which Precosia does not drink. And while she tells them, weeping, of her strange adventure, the wind furiously bites at the slate roof tiles.

The gypsy-nun Silence of lime and myrtle. Mallows in slenders grasses. The nun embroiders wallflowers on a straw-coloured cloth. In the chandelier fly seven prismatic birds. The church grunts in the distance like a bear belly upwards. How she sews! With what grace! On the straw-coloured cloth she wants to embroider the flowers of her fantasy. What sunflowers! What magnolias of sequins and ribbons! What crocuses and moons on the cloth over the altar! Five grapefruits sweeten in the nearby kitchen. The five wounds of Christ cut in Almería. Through the eyes of the nun two horsemen gallop. A last quiet murmur takes off her camisole. And gazing at clouds and hills in the strict distance, her heart of sugar and verbena is breaking. Oh what a high plain with twenty suns above it! What standing rivers her fantasy sees setting! But she goes on with her flowers, while standing in the breeze, the light plays chess high in the lattice-window.

The moon wakes When the moon sails out the bells fade into stillness where emerge the pathways that can’t be penetrated. When the moon sails out the water hides earth’s surface, the heart feels like an island in the infinite silence. Nobody eats an orange under the moon’s fullness. It is correct to eat, then, green and icy fruit. When the moon sails out with a hundred identical faces, the coins made of silver sob in your pocket.

Farewell If I am dying, leave the balcony open. The child is eating an orange. (From my balcony, I see him.) The reaper is reaping the barley. (From my balcony, I hear him.) If I am dying, leave the balcony open.

Romance de la Luna, Luna The moon comes to the forge, in her creamy-white petticoat. The child stares, stares. The child is staring at her. In the breeze, stirred, the moon stirs her arms shows, pure, voluptuous, her breasts of hard tin. ‘Away, moon, moon, moon. If the gypsies come here, they’ll take your heart for necklaces and white rings.’ ‘Child, let me dance now. When the gypsies come here, they’ll find you on the anvil, with your little eyes closed.’ ‘Away, moon, moon, moon, because I hear their horses.’ ‘Child, go, but do not tread on my starched whiteness.’ The riders are coming nearer beating on the plain, drumming. Inside the forge, the child has both his eyes closed. Through the olive trees they come, bronze, and dream, the gypsies, their heads held upright, their eyes half-open. How the owl is calling. Ay, it calls in the branches! Through the sky goes the moon, gripping a child’s fingers. In the forge the gypsies are shouting and weeping. The breeze guards, guards. The breeze guards it.

Romance of the sleepwalker Green, as I love you, greenly. Green the wind, and green the branches. The dark ship on the sea and the horse on the mountain. With her waist that’s made of shadow dreaming on the high veranda, green the flesh, and green the tresses, with eyes of frozen silver. Green, as I love you, greenly. Beneath the moon of the gypsies silent things are looking at her things she cannot see. Green, as I love you, greenly. Great stars of white hoarfrost come with the fish of shadow opening the road of morning. The fig tree’s rubbing on the dawn wind with the rasping of its branches, and the mountain cunning cat, bristles with its sour agaves. Who is coming? And from where...? She waits on the high veranda, green the flesh and green the tresses, dreaming of the bitter ocean. - 'Brother, friend, I want to barter your house for my stallion, sell my saddle for your mirror, change my dagger for your blanket. Brother mine, I come here bleeding from the mountain pass of Cabra.’ - ‘If I could, my young friend, then maybe we’d strike a bargain, but I am no longer I, nor is this house, of mine, mine.’ - ‘Brother, friend, I want to die now, in the fitness of my own bed, made of iron, if it can be, with its sheets of finest cambric. Can you see the wound I carry from my throat to my heart?’ - ‘Three hundred red roses your white shirt now carries. Your blood stinks and oozes, all around your scarlet sashes. But I am no longer I, nor is this house of mine, mine.’ - ‘Let me then, at least, climb up there, up towards the high verandas. Let me climb, let me climb there, up towards the green verandas. High verandas of the moonlight, where I hear the sound of waters.’ Now they climb, the two companions, up there to the high veranda, letting fall a trail of blood drops, letting fall a trail of tears. On the morning rooftops, trembled, the small tin lanterns. A thousand tambourines of crystal wounded the light of daybreak. Green, as I love you, greenly. Green the wind, and green the branches. They climbed up, the two companions. In the mouth, the dark breezes left there a strange flavour, of gall, and mint, and sweet basil. - ‘Brother, friend! Where is she, tell me, where is she, your bitter beauty? How often, she waited for you! How often, she would have waited, cool the face, and dark the tresses, on this green veranda!’ Over the cistern’s surface the gypsy girl was rocking. Green the bed is, green the tresses, with eyes of frozen silver. An ice-ray made of moonlight holding her above the water. How intimate the night became, like a little, hidden plaza. Drunken Civil Guards were beating, beating, beating on the door frame. Green, as I love you, greenly. Green the wind, and green the branches. The dark ship on the sea, and the horse on the mountain.
    Cabra is a municipality in the province of Córdoba      (Andalucía)

The girl with the lovely face, goes, gathering olives. The wind, that towering lover, takes her by the waist. Four riders go by on Andalusian ponies, in azure and emerald suits, in long cloaks of shadow. ‘Come to Cordoba, sweetheart!’ The girl does not listen. Three young bullfighters go by, slim-waisted in suits of orange, with swords of antique silver. ‘Come to Sevilla, sweetheart!’ The girl does not listen. When the twilight purples, with the daylight’s dying, a young man goes by, holding roses, and myrtle of moonlight. ‘Come to Granada, my sweetheart!’ But the girl does not listen. The girl, with the lovely face, goes on gathering olives, while the wind’s grey arms are embracing her waist.

The unfaithful Wife So I took her to the river thinking she was a maiden, but it seems she had a husband. It was the night of Saint James, and it almost was a duty. The lamps went out, the crickets lit up. By the last street corners I touched her sleeping breasts, and they suddenly blossomed like hyacinth petals. The starch of her underskirt crackled in my ears like silk fragments ripped apart by ten daggers. The tree crowns free of silver-light are larger, and a horizon of dogs, howls far away from the river. Past the hawthorns, the reeds, and the brambles. Below her dome of hair I made a hole in the sand. I took off my tie. She took of her dress. I my belt with my revolver. She four bodices. Creamy tuberoses or shells are not as smooth as her skin was and the crystals in the moonlight were shining brilliantly. Her thighs slipped from me like fish that are startled, one half full of fire, one half full of coldness. That night I galloped on the best of roadways, on a mare of nacre, without stirrups, without bridle. As a man I cannot tell you the things she said to me. The light of understanding has made me discreet. Smeared with sand and kisses, I took her away from the river. The blades of the lilies were fighting with the air. I behaved as what I am, as a true gypsy. I gave her a big sewing basket with straw-coloured satin. I did not want to love her, for although she had a husband, she told me she was a maiden when I took her to the river.

Gacela of unexpected love No one understood the perfume of the shadow magnolia of your belly. No one knew you crushed completely a human bird of love between your teeth. There slept a thousand little persian horses in the moonlight plaza of your forehead, while, for four nights, I embraced there your waist, the enemy of snowfall. Between the plaster and the jasmines, your gaze was a pale branch, seeding. I tried to give you, in my breastbone, the ivory letters that say ever. Ever, ever: garden of my torture, your body, flies from me forever, the blood of your veins is in my mouth now, already light-free for my death.

Casida of the rose The rose was not looking for the morning: on its branch, almost immortal, it looked for something other. The rose was not looking for wisdom, or for shadow: the edge of flesh and dreaming, it looked for something other. The rose was not looking for the rose, was unmoving in the heavens: it looked for something other.

Casida of the dark doves Through the laurel branches I saw two doves of darkness. The one it was the sun, the other one was the moon. I said: ‘Little neighbours where is my tombstone?’ ‘In my tail-feathers,’ the sun said. ‘In my throat,’ said the moon. And I who was out walking with the earth wrapped round me, saw two eagles made of white snow, and a girl who was naked. And the one was the other, and the girl, she was neither. I said: ‘Little eagles, where is my tombstone?’ ‘In my tail-feathers,’ the sun said. ‘In my throat,’ said the moon. Through the branches of laurel, I saw two doves, both naked. And the one was the other, and the two of them were neither.

O secret voice of hidden love O secret voice of hidden love! O bleating without wool! O wound! O dry camelia, bitter needle! O sea-less current, wall-less city! O night immense with sharpened profile, heavenly mountain, narrow valley! O dog inside the heart, voice going, endless silence, full-blown iris! Let me be, hot voice of icebergs, and do not ask me to vanish in weeds, where sky and flesh are fruitless. Leave my hard ivory skull forever, have pity on me. Stop the torture! O I am love, O I am nature!

Federico Garcia Lorca
(°Fuente Vaqueros, 5 June 1898
+Víznar, 19 August 1936)
He was a Spanish poet and dramatist.

Federico Garcia Lorca was murdered
by fascists in the Spanish civil war.


Federico Garcia Lorca

Federico Garcia Lorca

Federico Garcia Lorca

Federico Garcia Lorca

Federico Garcia Lorca
Eros con bastón

Federico Garcia Lorca

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El amor oscuro

Federico Garcia Lorca
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In het Nederlands

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Arboré seco y verde
Boompje dor en groen

Dead Poets Society


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© Gaston D'Haese: 19-08-2008.
Update: 05-02-2018.