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About this poet

Federico García Lorca is one of the most important Spanish poets and dramatists of the twentieth century. He was born June 5, 1898, in Fuente Vaqueros, a small town a few miles from Granada. His father, Federico García Rodríguez, was a landowner, and his mother, Vicenta Lorca Romero, was a teacher.

Lorca published his first book, Impresiones y Viajes, in 1919. That same year, he traveled to Madrid, where he remained for the next decade. His first full-length play, El Maleficio de la mariposa, was produced there in 1920. The next year, he published Libro de poemas, a compilation of poems based on Spanish folklore.

In 1922, Lorca and the composer Manuel de Falla organized the first cante jondo, or “deep song,” festival in Granada; the deep song form permeated his poems of the early 1920s. During this period, Lorca also became part of a group of artists known as Generación del 27, which included Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel, who exposed the young poet to surrealism. In 1928, his poetry collection Romancero Gitano brought Lorca far-reaching fame; it was reprinted seven times during his lifetime.
 
In 1929 and 1930, Lorca traveled to New York City and Cuba. He returned to Spain in 1930 and, beginning in 1931, toured the country with the theater group La Barraca. He was arrested in Granada on August 16, 1936, near the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. He is believed to have been murdered by Fascist forces on August 18 or 19, 1936.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry
In Search of Duende (New Directions, 1998)
The Poetical Works of Federico García Lorca (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1988)
Impressions and Landscapes (University Press of America, 1987)
Poem of the Deep Song (City Light Books, 1987)
Songs (Duquesne University Press, 1976)
The Ballad of the Spanish Civil Guard (Janus Press, 1974)
Divan and Other Writings (Bonewhistle Press, 1974)
Tree of Song (Unicorn Press, 1971)
Selected Poems (New Directions, 1955)
The Gypsy Ballads (Indiana University Press, 1953)
The Poet in New York (W. W. Norton, 1940)
Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter and Other Poems (Oxford University Press, 1937)


Drama
Ill Tragedies: Blood Wedding, Yerma, Bernarda Alba (New Directions, 1947)
From Lorca’s Theatre: Five Plays of Federico García Lorca (C. Scribner’s Sons, 1941)

 

 

Romance Sonambulo

(skip to the original poem in Spanish)

Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea
and the horse on the mountain. 
With the shade around her waist 
she dreams on her balcony, 
green flesh, her hair green, 
with eyes of cold silver. 
Green, how I want you green. 
Under the gypsy moon, 
all things are watching her 
and she cannot see them.

Green, how I want you green. 
Big hoarfrost stars 
come with the fish of shadow 
that opens the road of dawn. 
The fig tree rubs its wind 
with the sandpaper of its branches, 
and the forest, cunning cat, 
bristles its brittle fibers. 
But who will come? And from where? 
She is still on her balcony 
green flesh, her hair green, 
dreaming in the bitter sea.

—My friend, I want to trade 
my horse for her house, 
my saddle for her mirror, 
my knife for her blanket. 
My friend, I come bleeding 
from the gates of Cabra.
—If it were possible, my boy, 
I'd help you fix that trade. 
But now I am not I, 
nor is my house now my house.
—My friend, I want to die
decently in my bed. 
Of iron, if that's possible, 
with blankets of fine chambray. 
Don't you see the wound I have 
from my chest up to my throat?
—Your white shirt has grown 
thirsty dark brown roses. 
Your blood oozes and flees a
round the corners of your sash. 
But now I am not I, 
nor is my house now my house.
—Let me climb up, at least, 
up to the high balconies; 
Let me climb up! Let me, 
up to the green balconies. 
Railings of the moon 
through which the water rumbles.

Now the two friends climb up, 
up to the high balconies.
Leaving a trail of blood. 
Leaving a trail of teardrops. 
Tin bell vines
were trembling on the roofs.
A thousand crystal tambourines 
struck at the dawn light.

Green, how I want you green, 
green wind, green branches. 
The two friends climbed up. 
The stiff wind left 
in their mouths, a strange taste 
of bile, of mint, and of basil 
My friend, where is she—tell me—
where is your bitter girl?
How many times she waited for you! 
How many times would she wait for you, 
cool face, black hair, 
on this green balcony! 
Over the mouth of the cistern
the gypsy girl was swinging, 
green flesh, her hair green, 
with eyes of cold silver. 
An icicle of moon
holds her up above the water. 
The night became intimate 
like a little plaza.
Drunken "Guardias Civiles"
were pounding on the door. 
Green, how I want you green. 
Green wind. Green branches. 
The ship out on the sea. 
And the horse on the mountain.

Verde que te quiero verde. 
Verde viento. Verdes ramas. 
El barco sobre la mar 
y el caballo en la montaña. 
Con la sombra en la cintura 
ella sueña en su baranda, 
verde carne, pelo verde, 
con ojos de fría plata. 
Verde que te quiero verde. 
Bajo la luna gitana,
las cosas la están mirando 
y ella no puede mirarlas.

Verde que te quiero verde. 
Grandes estrellas de escarcha 
vienen con el pez de sombra 
que abre el camino del alba. 
La higuera frota su viento 
con la lija de sus ramas, 
y el monte, gato garduño, 
eriza sus pitas agrias.
¿Pero quién vendra? ¿Y por dónde...? 
Ella sigue en su baranda, 
Verde carne, pelo verde, 
soñando en la mar amarga.

—Compadre, quiero cambiar
mi caballo por su casa,
mi montura por su espejo,
mi cuchillo per su manta.
Compadre, vengo sangrando,
desde los puertos de Cabra.
—Si yo pudiera, mocito, 
este trato se cerraba. 
Pero yo ya no soy yo, 
ni mi casa es ya mi casa.
—Compadre, quiero morir 
decentemente en mi cama. 
De acero, si puede ser, 
con las sábanas de holanda. 
¿No ves la herida que tengo 
desde el pecho a la garganta?
—Trescientas rosas morenas
lleva tu pechera blanca. 
Tu sangre rezuma y huele 
alrededor de tu faja. 
Pero yo ya no soy yo,
ni mi casa es ya mi casa.
—Dejadme subir al menos 
hasta las altas barandas;
¡dejadme subir!, dejadme, 
hasta las verdes barandas. 
Barandales de la luna 
por donde retumba el agua. 
Ya suben los dos compadres 
hacia las altas barandas. 
Dejando un rastro de sangre. 
Dejando un rastro de lágrimas. 
Temblaban en los tejados
farolillos de hojalata. 
Mil panderos de cristal 
herían la madrugada.
Verde que te quiero verde,
verde viento, verdes ramas. 
Los dos compadres subieron.
El largo viento dejaba 
en la boca un raro gusto
de hiel, de menta y de albahaca.
¡Compadre! ¿Donde está, díme?
¿Donde está tu niña amarga? 
¡Cuántas veces te esperó!
¡Cuántas veces te esperara,
cara fresca, negro pelo, 
en esta verde baranda!

Sobre el rostro del aljibe
se mecía la gitana. 
Verde carne, pelo verde, 
con ojos de fría plata.
Un carámbano de luna 
la sostiene sobre el agua.
La noche se puso íntima 
como una pequeña plaza. 
Guardias civiles borrachos 
en la puerta golpeaban. 
Verde que te quiero verde. 
Verde viento. Verdes ramas. 
El barco sobre la mar. 
Y el caballo en la montaña.

From The Selected Poems of Federico García Lorca, translated by William Logan. Published by New Directions, 1955. Used with permission.

From The Selected Poems of Federico García Lorca, translated by William Logan. Published by New Directions, 1955. Used with permission.

Federico García Lorca

Federico García Lorca is one of the most important Spanish poets and dramatists of the twentieth century.

by this poet

poem

translated by Sarah Arvio

To find a kiss of yours
what would I give
A kiss that strayed from your lips
dead to love

My lips taste
the dirt of shadows     

To gaze at your dark eyes
what would I give
Dawns of rainbow

2
poem
   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
poem
The weeping of the guitar
begins.
The goblets of dawn
are smashed.
The weeping of the guitar
begins.
Useless
to silence it.
Impossible 
to silence it.
It weeps monotonously
as water weeps
as the wind weeps
over snowfields.
Impossible
to silence it.
It weeps for distant 
things.
Hot southern sands
yearning for