Federico García Lorca


Casida of the Weeping

I have shut my balcony
because I don't want to hear the weeping,
but from behind the gray walls
nothing is heard but the weeping.

There are very small angels who sing,
there are very small dogs who bark,
a thousand violins fit in the palm of my hand.

But the weeping is an immense dog,
the weeping is an immense violin:
the tears muzzle the wind,
and nothing is heard but the weeping.


(He cerrado mi balcón
porque no quiero oír el llanto
pero por detrás de los grises muros
no se oye otra cosa pero el llanto.

Hay muy pocos ángeles que canten,
hay muy pocos perros que ladren,
mil violines caben en la palma de mi mano.

Pero el llanto es un perro inmenso,
el llanto es un ángel inmenso,
el llanto es un violín inmenso,
las lágrimas amordazan al viento,
y no se oye otra cosa que el llanto.)


Ballad of the Spanish Civil Guard

Their horses are black.
Their horseshoes are black.
On their cloaks shine stains
of ink and wax.
They have skulls of lead
and cannot cry.
With their black leather souls
they ride down the road.
Hunchbacked, nocturnal,
where they stir they command
dark rubber silence
and fears of fine sand.
They go where they please,
and hide in their heads
a vague astronomy
of intangible guns.

O city of gypsies!
Banners in your corners!
The moon and the pumpkin
candied with cherries.
O city of gypsies!
Who can forget you?
City of musk and sorrow
with cinnamon towers.

When night fell, night
that makes night night,
the gypsies forged arrows
and suns in their fires.
A dying horse
knocked at every door.
Glass cocks were crowing
along Jérez De La Frontera.
The naked wind turns
the corner of surprise
in the nightsilver night,
night that makes night night.

Saint Joseph and the Virgin
have lost their castanets
and look for the gypsies
to see if they find them.
The Virgin comes dressed
in a duchess's robe
of tinfoil from chocolates
and almond necklaces.
Saint Joseph swings his arms
beneath a silk cape.
Pedro Dómecq follows
with three Persian sultans.
The half-moon dreamed
a delight of storks.
Banners and lanterns
invade the rooftops.
Hipless ballerinas
sob in their mirrors.

Water and shadow,
shadow and water
along Jérez De La Frontera.
O city of gypsies!
Banners in your corners!
      Dim your green lights,
      for the Civil Guard comes.
O city of gypsies!
Who can forget you?
      Leave her far from the sea,
      without combs for her hair.

Two abreast they advance
to the festive city,
a rustle of pines
in their cartridge belts.
Two abreast they advance,
double nocturne of fabric.
The sky takes their fancy,
a showcase for spurs.
The unsuspecting city
multiplied its doors.
Forty Civil Guards
entered them to loot.
The clocks halted
and the bottled brandy
masqueraded as November
to avoid suspicion.
A flight of long shouts
rose in the weathervanes.
The sabers slice breezes
trampled by hooves.
The old gypsies flee
through shadowed streets
with hair fixed for sleep
and crocks of coins.
The sinister cloaks
climb the tilted streets
leaving fugitive whirls
of scissors behind.

The gypsies gather
at Bethlehem's portal.
Full of wounds, Saint Joseph
shrouds a young maiden.
Sudden sharp rifles
ring through the night.
The Virgin heals children
with spittle from stars.
But the Civil Guard advances,
sowing bonfires.
where imagination burns
young and naked.
Rosa of Camborios
moans on her doorstep,
with her two severed breasts
lying on a platter.
And other girls fled,
pursued for their braids,
through an air where roses
of gunpowder bloomed.

When all the rooftops
were furrows in the ground,
the dawn shrugged its shoulders
in a long stone profile.

O city of gypsies!
The Civil Guard leaves
through a tunnel of silence
while the flames draw near you.

O city of gypsies!
Who can forget you?
Let them seek you in my forehead:
game of moon and sand.



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