Monday, January 7, 2013

El Análisis de Despedida

One of my favorite poems by Federico Garcia Lorca is “Farewell” or "Despedida". This bittersweet work depicts the speaker as a person who is giving instructions on their deathbed. The speaker is insisting that the balcony be left open so that they could see what was happening outside. The poem is essentially stressing the fact that the speaker is focusing on sights and sounds of life, as opposed to the cold vacuum of death that is prevalent in many of Garcia Lorca’s other poems. They want to feel life’s subtle pleasures and enjoy their last moments in a familiar setting. This work provides many youthful and lively images, such as a young boy eating an orange and a reaper harvesting wheat. This poem uses people of different ages from a child, to a working adult, to a dying old person and highlights the cycle of birth, life, and death. The usage of raw nature and plants support the idea that death and life are both inevitable and pure. I feel like I would want this poem on my funeral card or even epitaph. It evokes a sense of assurance and quells sorrow, because it highlights the fact that death is natural, and that life is valuable.

El Análisis de Adivinanza De La Guitarra

The poem “Riddle of the Guitar” has an intriguing and classic title that conjures the blue image of Picasso’s “Old Man Playing Guitar”. But instead of a dark blue dirge, this ballad sets a scene that is somewhat Grecian with allusions to moonlit crossroads and the legendary Cyclops, Polyphemus. The poem describes six women dancing at crossroads. These women, 3 in flesh, 3 in sliver, represent the strings of the guitar and the fingers of the guitarist. The “dreams of yesterday” refer to the vibrations of the strumming, which are then captured by the “sound hole” (yes its actually called that) of the guitar. The “sound hole” is also described as “a Polyphemus of gold”, which means the singular golden eye of a mighty and mythical Cyclops. Garcia Lorca is one for finding beauty in unknown objects and making that beauty more evident by comparing them to surreal situations. Garcia Lorca was also particularly attached to music and sound, and desired to convey the wonder and even mystery of a musical instrument. All I know is that the next time I look at a guitar, I will probably think of the six ladies dancing freely along the wooden body. 

El Análisis de "Canción del Naranjo Seco"

The Song of the Barren Orange Tree is a mournful work that is told from the point of view of an orange tree that could not produce fruit. Throughout the poem, the tree is imploring the woodcutter to free her of her misery by cutting her down. The tree goes on to explain that her suffering is constant and she is always reminded of her shortcomings, because she can always see her fruitless shadow. Although this poem is dark, I love the use of anthropomorphism as Garcia Lora takes the voice of a voiceless object. The dismayed and frustrated suicidal references lead me to interpret the poem as semi autobiographical. I believe that Garcia Lorca was making a statement about how his sexuality was a curse and a burden that he was constantly reminded of. Society taught him that homosexuality is a flaw or defect, leading him to be constantly tormented by his lack of self acceptance. I also think that the barrenness of the orange tree somewhat connects to Garcia Lorca himself. At the time if he were to truly accept himself and have a homosexual relationship, he would not have been able to procreate or raise his own children.

Adivinanza De La Guitarra

Adivinanza De La Guitarra
En la redonda 

seis doncellas
Tres de carne
y tres de plata.
Los sueños de ayer las buscan
pero las tiene abrazadas
un Polifemo de oro.
¡La guitarra! 

Riddle of the Guitar
At the round
6 maidens
3 of flesh,
and 3 of silver.
Dreams from yesterday pursue them,
but they are held fast by
a Polyphemus of gold.
The guitar! 

Translated by Zachary Jean Chartkoff


Federico Garcia Lorca
Translated by W.S. Merwin

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!


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!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Excerpts from “Sonnets of Dark Love”
Love Awake and Love Asleep
You'll never know my vigil and my love,

sheltered in my soul, sleeping by my side.

I found you crying like a cornered creature

when you were at the sword-point of their voice.

Law violating flesh and stars alike

now trespasses my heart and preys on pain,

and tongues that sharpen at our backs have clipped

the wings your spirit once spread in its pride.

A mob has gathered, trampling down the garden,

waiting to watch my frenzy and your corpse 

dragged by green-maned horses fast as light.

But sleep, sweetheart, they won't disturb your dreams.

Hear my blood strung like strings on violins!

See how they wait and watch all through the night!

The Poet Tells The Truth
I want to cry my pain, cry till I call

you from yourself to cry love and my name

amid the nightfall of the nightingales,
with a dagger, with kisses, with all your all.

I want to kill the solitary witness

to the assassination of my flowers,

to transform every bead of sweat, each tear

into a timeless mountain of durum wheat.

Dear, there will be no exit from this maze

of loving each other year after year

with salt and shouts, old moons and blazing days,

and the gift you give I can't refuse or claim

is a death with no death, no shade, no retreat

for this flesh trembling with love, transfixed by fear.

Las Luchas Personales De Señor Garcìa Lorca

The Age of Garcìa Lorca consisted of many reforms and cultural revolutions. Many civil rights movements had and were taking place, for example, most European women gained the right to vote, and an African American had won 4 gold metals in the 1936 German Olympics. Despite these reforms, there was little activity among the gay population in Europe, and homosexuals were very much subjects of discrimination. Federico Garcìa Lorca, being gay himself, as well as one of the most famous poets in Spain, had his work censored so as not to reveal his sexuality. Spain, being a very Catholic country, had little tolerance for the gays, and Garcìa Lorca’s popularity would have certainly diminished had his secret been revealed. Despite this censorship, Garcìa Lorca wrote a great deal of poems expressing his loneliness and his frustration regarding homosexuality. His collection “Sonnets of Dark Love” (posthumously published as “Love Sonnets”), depicts his torturous desires, and his struggle with conventional expectation versus his personal needs. In Spanish, the poems are much more obvious in their reference to homosexuality, because all of the nouns are masculine, indicating that Garcìa Lorca is speaking to a man. The line “… for this flesh trembling with love, transfixed by fear.” demonstrates Garcìa Lorca’s fear of his sexuality, and is a statement on how his society demonized a pure concept of love.