The moon came to the forgewith her bustle of tuberose.The boy looks and looks.The boy is looking at her.In the stirred night airthe moon sways her armsand bears, lubricious and pure,her breasts of hard tin.‘Run, moon, moon.If the gypsies comethey will turn your heartinto necklaces and white rings.’‘Boy, let me dance.When the gypsies comethey will find you on the anvilwith your little eyes shut.’‘Run, moon, moon, moonfor I already hear their horses.’‘Boy, let me be, do not stepon my starchy whiteness.’
The rider came closer,drumming on the plain.Inside the forgethe boy’s eyes are shut.Bronze and dream, the gypsiescame through the olive grove.Their hands held high,their eyes half closed.
How the owl sings,ay, how it sings in the tree!The moon crosses the skywith a child by the hand.
Inside the forge the gypsiesscream and weep.The air is keeping watch.The air watching over her.
by Federico García Lorca
This translation of 'The Ballad of the Moon, Moon' is copyright ©
Jane Durán and Gloria García Lorca, 2011. It is reprinted from Gypsy Ballads by permission of Enitharmon Press.
Fascinated by the folk music of his native Spain, Federico García Lorca wrote two books inspired by gypsy rhythms: Poem of the Deep Song (on the world of flamenco and cante jondo) and the best-selling Gypsy Ballads, from which 'The Ballad of the Moon, Moon' is taken. In Poet in New York (written 1929-1930) he turns the American city into an image of universal loneliness, and in tragedies like Yerma, Blood Wedding, and The House of Bernarda Alba
he takes the measure of human longing and of the social repression that
would contribute to his early death (he was shot by right-wing forces
at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War).
In Romancero gitano/Gypsy Ballads, carefully
translated by Jane Durán and Gloria García Lorca (Lorca's niece), the
poet transforms into metaphor and myth the fantasy and reality of a
marginalized people. Lorca described Romancero gitano as 'the
poem of Andalusia ... A book that hardly expresses visible Andalusia at
all, but where hidden Andalusia trembles.' Seeking to relate the nature
of his proud and troubled region of Spain, he drew on a traditional
gypsy form; yet the homely, unpretentious style of these poems barely
disguises the undercurrents of conflicted identity never far from
Lorca’s work. You can find out more about this bilingual, illustrated
edition here, more about Jane Duran here, and more about Lorca himself at the Fundación Federico García Lorca website here.
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and Kathleen Raine. Enitharmon also commissions internationally renowned
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poets, including Seamus Heaney, under the Enitharmon Editions imprint.
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