Gacela of the Dark Death

Federico García Lorca

Translated by Robert Bly
 
   I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
I want to get far away from the busyness of the cemeteries.
I want to sleep the sleep of that child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.
   I don't want them to tell me again how the corpse keeps all its blood,
how the decaying mouth goes on begging for water.
I'd rather not hear about the torture sessions the grass arranges for
nor about how the moon does all its work before dawn
with its snakelike nose.
   I want to sleep for half a second,
a second, a minute, a century,
but I want everyone to know that I am still alive,
that I have a golden manger inside my lips,
that I am the little friend of the west wind,
that I am the elephantine shadow of my own tears.
   When it's dawn just throw some sort of cloth over me
because I know dawn will toss fistfuls of ants at me,
and pour a little hard water over my shoes
so that the scorpion claws of the dawn will slip off.
   Because I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
and learn a mournful song that will clean all earth away from me,
because I want to live with that shadowy child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.
 
By Federico García Lorca, translated and edited by Robert Bly, and published by Beacon Press in Selected Poems: Lorca and Jiménez. © 1973 by Robert Bly. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

Arbolé, Arbolé . . . by Federico García Lorca
Tree, tree
City That Does Not Sleep by Federico García Lorca
In the sky there is nobody asleep. Nobody, nobody.
Romance Sonambulo by Federico García Lorca
Green, how I want you green.
The Guitar by Federico García Lorca
The weeping of the guitar
The Little Mute Boy by Federico García Lorca
The little boy was looking for his voice
The Old Lizard by Federico García Lorca
In the parched path


Further Reading

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by Nathalie Handal