Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Interrupted Concert

It was on this day in 1936 that the 38-year-old Spanish poet Federico García Lorca was executed, a few weeks after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. In those first weeks, people on both sides — the leftist republicans and the right-wing nationalists — were rounded up and killed, as many as 50,000, with particularly heavy casualties against the republicans. Lorca was a leftist sympathizer, an open homosexual, and a writer who wrote about oppressed people like gypsies, so he was an easy target for the nationalists.--The Writer's Almanac

"Seventy years after his death, his voice is just as alive as on that 19 August night when bullets tried to silence it." --conclusion to this 2006 article, Poet's Death Still Troubles Spain.

Here is the link to the bilingual Fundacion Federico García Lorca (in Madrid) created by Lorca's sister, Isabel. BBC link of Lorca's life in pictures, here. I can barely write a thing as this horrific murder makes me weep.

The Interrupted Concert

The frozen sleepy pause
of the half moon
has broken the harmony
of the deep night.

The ditches, shrouded in sedge,
protest in silence,
and the frogs, muezzins of shadow,
have fallen silent.

In the old village inn
the sad music has ceased,
and the most ancient of stars
has muted its ray.

The wind has come to rest
in dark mountain caves,
and a solitary poplar—Pythagoras
of the pure plain—
lifts its aged hand
to strike at the moon. (trans. W.S. Merwin)


Mary-Laure said...

Thank you for this. Garcia Lorca is (with Shakespeare), my favorite poet of all times. His poems are sheer music, and so intensely raw, lyrical. Verde que te quiero verde....

Giulia said...

I know. I thought of you yesterday, M-L. I'll never get over what happened to him & I was not even born yet. Also, because this is happening to writers & artists the world 'round as I type, it hits the gut.

Jen said...

Lorca was such a powerful writer and his death was horrifying. Beautiful post.