Sunday, July 24, 2011

Little Infinite Poem

   Little Infinite Poem       by Federico Garcia Lorca

               For Luis Cardoza y Aragón

      To take the wrong road
   is to arrive at the snow,
   and to arrive at the snow
   is to get down on all fours for twenty centuries and eat
         the grasses of the cemeteries.

      To take the wrong road
   is to arrive at woman,
   woman who isn't afraid of light,
   woman who murders two roosters in one second,
   light which isn't afraid of roosters,
   and roosters who don't know how to sing on top of the snow.

      But if the snow truly takes the wrong road
   then it might meet the southern wind,
   and since the air cares nothing for groans,
   we will have to get down on all fours again and eat
         the grasses of the cemeteries.

      I saw two mournful wheatheads made of wax
   burying a countryside of volcanoes;
   and I saw two insane little boys who wept as they leaned on
         a murderer’s eyeballs.

      But two has never been a number --
   because it’s only an anguish and its shadow,
   it’s only a guitar where love feels how hopeless it is,
   it’s the proof of someone else’s infinity,
   and the walls around a dead man,
   and the scourging of a new resurrection that will never end.
   Dead people hate the number two,
   but the number two makes women drop off to sleep,
   and since women are afraid of light,
   light shudders when it has to face the roosters,
   and since all roosters know is how to fly over the snow
   we will have to get down on all fours and eat the grasses of
         the cemeteries forever.

Translated by Robert Bly, "Little Infinite Poem" is from the Bly-edited bilingual collection, Selected Poems: Lorca and Jiminez (Beacon Press, 1997). Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) was a Spanish poet and dramatist, a talented artist, and a member of the 'Generation of 1927', a avant-garde group of writers. "Little Infinite Poem" illustrates duende -- which Lorca begins to describe using Goethe’s allusion to a "mysterious power which everyone senses and no philosopher explains." The duende is a force that is irrational and intuitive; and – quintessentially Spanish – aware of death.

No comments:

Post a Comment