Monday, 25 July 2011

Mmm... Monday: Federico García Lorca, Part the First

I was watching Little Ashes again the other day with a couple of friends and have since not been able to get my mind off Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dalí. It’s always the same when I watch that film; it breaks my heart.

And I love it.

Today’s poem is by Lorca and the first time I hear it was in the film, and it just blew me away. Only the last stanza is in the film, and reading the entire thing for the first time turned it into something completely different for me.

The Dispute*

Halfway down the steep ravine
blades from
Albacete
,
lovely with the other's blood,
are glistening like fish.
Against the bitter green,
a card-hard light
traces raging horses
and riders' silhouettes.
Sitting in an olive tree,
two old women weep.
The bull of the dispute
is driven up the walls.
Black angels were bringing
handkerchiefs and melted snow.
Angels with enormous wings
of blades from
Albacete
.
Juan Antonio from Montilla
tumbles down the incline, dead,
irises across his body,
a pomegranate in his head.
Now he rides a flaming cross
along the road of death.
         
The judge comes through the olive grove
with the Civil Guard.
The seeped-out blood is moaning
mute song of the serpent.
«Civil Guardsmen, Sirs,
it was just the usual thing:
four Romans dead
and five Carthaginians».
         
The afternoon, gone mad
with figs and heated sounds,
swoons and falls upon
the riders' wounded thighs.
Black angels were flying
on the western breeze.
Angels with long braids
and hearts of soothing oil.


This: “The afternoon, gone mad / with figs and heated sounds, / swoons and falls upon / the riders' wounded thighs.”

It’s magic.

*Translated by Will Kirkland

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