Guest poem sent in by Anustup Datta
(Poem #210) Romance Sonambulo
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 around 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.
(Translated by William Logan) Comments : I discovered this poem recently and was transfixed. The sheer power of the imagery and the vivid yet chilling picture it conjured up held me spellbound. In my imgaination, I saw Franco's Spain and the rout of the Republicans - and a broken wounded soldier coming home in the night to meet his true love. I could hear the guitar notes in the background as the two friends climb up to the balcony for the girl who used to wait there. The use of phrases like 'gypsy moon', 'hoarfrost stars', 'the forest, cunning cat' adds to the mystery of it all. What happened to her when the soldiers came? Did she jump from the balcony into the green sea and become one with it? Is the reflection of the gypsy moon in the water her 'eyes of cold silver'? The more I read it, the more it haunts me, and the superb atmospheric quality reminds me of Walter de la Mare. A brief biography of Lorca is available at www.poets.org, along with the Spanish original of this poem. Anustup