Ghazal of the Unforeseen Love

By Federico García Lorca (tr. Amy Rodriguez)

No one comprehended the perfume
Of the dark magnolia of your womb.
No one knew the way you tortured the hummingbird
Of my love, as you held it between your teeth.

A thousand Persian foals fell asleep in the plaza
Lit by the moon of your forehead,
While for four nights I embraced your waist,
Enemy of the snow.

Yet between gypsum and jasmine, your gaze
Was a pale bunch of seeds.
I searched my soul, sought to give you
the ivory letters that spell “always.”

Always, always: a garden of agony—
Your body my fugitive forever,
The blood of your veins in my mouth,
Your mouth already lightless, marking my death.

—Federico García Lorca, translated by Amy Rodriguez

Nadie comprendía el perfume
de la oscura magnolia de tu vientre.
Nadie sabía que martirizabas
un colibrí de amor entre los dientes.

Mil caballitos persas se dormían
en la plaza con luna de tu frente,
mientras que yo enlazaba cuatro noches
tu cintura, enemiga de la nieve.

Entre yeso y jazmines, tu mirada
era un pálido ramo de simientes.
Yo busqué, para darte, por mi pecho
las letras de marfil que dicen siempre,

siempre, siempre: jardín de mi agonía,
tu cuerpo fugitivo para siempre,
la sangre de tus venas en mi boca,
tu boca ya sin luz para mi muerte.

—Federico García Lorca, traducido por Amy Rodriguez

Rodriguez photo_smallAmy Rodriguez teaches English literature and composition at Westchester Community College. She recently curated an interactive gallery event titled “Love: Lost and Found” for Scintilla, a Bushwick-based arts and literature showcase. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Yale University and will begin her Ph.D. this fall.

Federico García Lorca was one of the preeminent poets and dramatists of 20th-century Spain. His “Ghazal” series is from the Diván del Tamarit. He was executed by Nationalist forces in 1936.

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