Ghazal of Dark Death by Federico García Lorca [translated by Catherine Brown]


I want to sleep the sleep of apples,
far away from the uproar of cemeteries.
I want to sleep the sleep of that child
who wanted to cut his heart out on the sea.

I don’t want to hear that the dead lose no blood,
that the decomposed mouth is still begging for water.
I don’t want to find out about grass-given martyrdoms,
or the snake-mouthed moon that works before dawn.

I want to sleep just a moment,
a moment, a minute, a century.
But let it be known that I have not died:
that there is a stable of gold in my lips,
that I am the West Wind’s little friend,
that I am the enormous shadow of my tears.

Wrap me at dawn in a veil,
for she will hurl fistfuls of ants;
sprinkle my shoes with hard water
so her scorpion’s sting will slide off.

Because I want to sleep the sleep of apples
and learn a lament that will cleanse me of earth;
because I want to live with that dark child
who wanted to cut his heart out on the sea.

 

This poem comes from The Collected Poems of Federico García Lorca A Bilingual Edition (Revised). Click here to purchase.

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To learn a tiny bit more of Federico García Lorca, visit his page on the Poetry Foundation website by clicking here and his page on the Academy of American Poets website by clicking here.