The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Twenty-One (Lorca)



Federico García Lorca
Translated by W. S. Merwin

Here’s a gorgeous little poem by Federico García Lorca. What hunger for life he conveys, even in death! And so much is said with just a few simple images. It’s like the first and last stanzas are the balcony doors swung open, and the stanzas between them are a glimpse into an exotic, yet familiar, realm. I can see the gauzy curtains blowing in the wind, the corpse listening from the bed.
If you are new to Lorca, his full name is Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca, and he was a Spanish poet and playwright and part of a group of avante-garde artists known as Generación del 27, which included Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel and other notables. Lorca lived from 1898 – 1936.
If you’re new to the blog, you might want to look at the first Mnemosyne Post to find out what this project is all about.

Si muero,
dejad el balcón abierto.
El niño come naranjas.
(Desde mi balcón lo veo).
El segador siega el trigo.
(Desde mi balcón lo siento.)

¡Si muero,

dejad el balcón abierto!
If I die,
leave the balcony open.
The little boy is eating oranges.
(From my balcony I can see him.)
The reaper is harvesting the wheat.
(From my balcony I can hear him.)
If I die,
leave the balcony open.

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