Federico García Lorca

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Federico García Lorca in 1932

Federico García Lorca (5 June 189819 August 1936) was a Spanish poet, dramatist, painter, pianist and composer.


  • The day that hunger is eradicated from the earth there will be the greatest spiritual explosion the world has ever known. Humanity cannot imagine the joy that will burst into the world on the day of that great revolution.
  • Caballito negro.
    ¿Dónde llevas tu jinete muerto?
  • Verde que te quiero verde.
    Verde viento. Verdes ramas.
    El barco sobre la mar
    y el caballo en la montaña.
    • Green, how I want you green.
      Green wind. Green branches.
      The ship out on the sea
      and the horse on the mountain.
  • Los caballos negros son.
    Las herraduras son negras.
    Sobre las capas relucen
    manchas de tinta y de cera.
    Tienen, por eso no lloran,
    de plomo las calaveras.
    Con el alma de charol
    vienen por la carretera.
    • Black are the horses.
      The horseshoes are black.
      On the dark capes glisten
      stains of ink and wax.
      Their skulls are leaden,
      which is why they do not weep.
      With their patent leather souls
      they come down the street.
  • Las heridas quemaban como soles
    a las cinco de la tarde,
    y el gentío rompía las ventanas
    a las cinco de la tarde.
    A las cinco de la tarde.
    ¡Ay qué terribles cinco de la tarde!
    ¡Eran las cinco en todos los relojes!
    ¡Eran las cinco en sombra de la tarde!
    • The wounds were burning like suns
      at five in the afternoon,
      and the crowd broke the windows
      At five in the afternoon.
      Ah, that fatal five in the afternoon!
      It was five by all the clocks!
      It was five in the shade of the afternoon!
      • Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias (1935)
  • ¡Que no quiero verla!

    Dile a la luna que venga,
    que no quiero ver la sangre
    de Ignacio sobre la arena.

    ¡Que no quiero verla!

    • I will not see it!

      Tell the moon to come,
      for I do not want to see the blood
      of Ignacio on the sand.

      I will not see it!

      • Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias (1935)
  • Pero ya duerme sin fin.
    Ya los musgos y la hierba
    abren con dedos seguros
    la flor de su calavera.
    Y su sangre ya viene cantando:
    cantando por marismas y praderas,
    resbalando por cuernos ateridos,
    vacilando sin alma por la niebla,
    tropezando con miles de pezuñas
    como una larga, oscura, triste lengua,
    para formar un charco de agonía
    junto al Guadalquivir de las estrellas.
    ¡Oh blanco muro de España!
    ¡Oh negro toro de pena!
    ¡Oh sangre dura de Ignacio!
    ¡Oh ruiseñor de sus venas!
    • But now he sleeps endlessly.
      Now the moss and the grass
      open with sure fingers
      the flower of his skull.
      And now his blood comes out singing;
      singing along marshes and meadows,
      slides on frozen horns,
      faltering souls in the mist
      stumbling over a thousand hoofs
      like a long, dark, sad tongue,
      to form a pool of agony
      close to the starry Guadalquivir.
      Oh, white wall of Spain!
      Oh, black bull of sorrow!
      Oh, hard blood of Ignacio!
      Oh, nightingale of his veins!
      • Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias (1935)
  • No te conoce el toro ni la higuera,
    ni caballos ni hormigas de tu casa.
    No te conoce el niño ni la tarde
    porque te has muerto para siempre.

    No te conoce el lomo de la piedra,
    ni el raso negro donde te destrozas.
    No te conoce tu recuerdo mudo
    porque te has muerto para siempre.

    El otoño vendrá con caracolas,
    uva de niebla y montes agrupados,
    pero nadie querrá mirar tus ojos
    porque te has muerto para siempre.

    Porque te has muerto para siempre,
    como todos los muertos de la Tierra,
    como todos los muertos que se olvidan
    en un montón de perros apagados.

    No te conoce nadie. No. Pero yo te canto.
    Yo canto para luego tu perfil y tu gracia.
    La madurez insigne de tu conocimiento.
    Tu apetencia de muerte y el gusto de su boca.
    La tristeza que tuvo tu valiente alegría.

    • The bull does not know you, nor the fig tree,
      nor the horses, nor the ants in your own house.
      The child and the afternoon do not know you
      because you have died forever.

      The shoulder of the stone does not know you
      nor the black silk on which you are crumbling.
      Your silent memory does not know you
      because you have died forever.

      The autumn will come with conches,
      misty grapes and clustered hills,
      but no one will look into your eyes
      because you have died forever.

      Because you have died for ever,
      like all the dead of the earth,
      like all the dead who are forgotten
      in a heap of lifeless dogs.

      Nobody knows you. No. But I sing of you.
      For posterity I sing of your profile and grace.
      Of the signal maturity of your understanding.
      Of your appetite for death and the taste of its mouth.
      Of the sadness of your once valiant gaiety.

      • Llanto por Ignacio Sanchez Mejias (1935)
  • Verte desnuda es recordar la Tierra.
    • To see you naked is to recall the Earth.
      • "Casidas," IV: Casida de la Mujer Tendida from Primeras Canciones (1936)
  • Como no me he preocupado de nacer, no me preocupo de morir.
    • As I was not worried about being, born, I don't worry about dying.
      • Quoted in "Diálogos de un caricaturista salvaje," interview with Luis Bagaría, El Sol, Madrid (1936-06-10)
  • El remanso del aire
    bajo la rama del eco.

    El remanso del agua
    bajo fronda de luceros.

    El remanso de tu boca
    bajo espesura de besos.

    • The still pool of air
      under the branch of echo.

      The still pool of water
      under a frond of stars.

      The still pool of your mouth
      under a thicket of kisses.

  • Un muerto en España está más vivo como muerto que en ningún sitio del mundo.
    • A dead man in Spain is more alive than a dead man anywhere in the world.
      • "Theory and Play of the Duende" from A Poet in New York (1940)

The House of Bernarda Alba (1936)


La casa de Bernarda Alba

  • ¡No me mires más! Si quieres te daré mis ojos, que son frescos, y mis espaldas para que te compongas la joroba que tienes.
    • Don't look at me any more! If you want, I'll give you my eyes — which are still fresh — and my back so you can fix that hump of yours.
      • Act II (ll. 578–580)
  • Las viejas vemos a través de las paredes.
    • We old women see through walls.
      • Act II (l. 597)
  • Siempre has sido lista. Has visto lo malo de las gentes a cien leguas... Pero los hijos son los hijos. Ahora estás ciega.
    • You have always been smart. You have always looked for the worst in people, and have been quick to notice when people are up to no good... But in the case of your children, you are blind.
      • Act II (ll. 833–835)

Quotations about Lorca

  • I suppose he had the good luck to be executed, no? I had an hour's chat with him in Buenos Aires. He struck me as a kind of play actor, no? Living up to a certain role. I mean, being a professional Andalusian... But in the case of Lorca, it was very strange because I lived in Andalusia and the Andalusians aren't a bit like that. His were stage Andalusians. Maybe he thought that in Buenos Aires he had to live up to that character, but in Andalusia, people are not like that. In fact, if you are in Andalusia, if you are talking to a man of letters and you speak to him about bullfights, he'll say, 'Oh well, that sort of this pleases people, I suppose, but really the torero works in no danger whatsoever.' Because they are bored by these things, because every writer is bored by the local color in his own country. Well, when I met Lorca, he was being a professional Andalusian... Besides, Lorca wanted to astonish us. He said to me that he was very troubled about a very important figure in the contemporary world. A character in whom he could see all the tragedy of American life. And then he went on in this way until I asked him who was this character and it turned out this character was Mickey Mouse. I suppose he was trying to be clever. And I thought, 'That's the kind of thing you say when you are very, very young and you want to astonish somebody.' But after all, he was a grown man, he had no need, he could have talked in a different way. But when he started in about Mickey Mouse being a symbol of America, there was a friend of mine there and he looked at me and I looked at him and we both walked away because we were too old for that kind of game, no? Even at that time.
    • Richard Burgin, Conversation with Jorge Luis Borges, pages 92–93.
  • Well, [Lorca had] a gift for gab. For example, he makes striking metaphors, but I think he makes striking metaphors for him, because I think that his world was mostly verbal. I think that he was fond of playing words against each other, the contrast of words, but I wonder if he knew what he was doing.
    • Richard Burgin, Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges, Holt, Rhinehart, & Winston, 1968. Pages 93–94.
  • it takes quite a talent for a playwright to internalize and remain distant at the same time. I think that is why all the great playwrights like Shakespeare, García Lorca, and several others have been poets as well.
    • Lucha Corpi interview in ‘’Chicana Ways’’ edited by Karin Rosa Ikas (2001)
  • I remember that Federico García Lorca was always asking me to read my lines, my poetry, and yet in the middle of my reading, he would say, "Stop, stop! Don't go on, lest you influence me!"
  • choppy and unabsorbed a set of results as we have seen, during the last few years, in those poets who have used Lorca, whole and unassimilated, corrupting the fiery purities of his Spanish into a grotesque of English.
  • 18 August 1936 is the most likely date in which the gay socialist poet Federico García Lorca was taken from his jail cell and executed on the order of right-wing general Francisco Franco's military forces. The exact circumstances of his death are unclear, but after being arrested on August 16 he was probably killed on August 18 in the early hours of the morning. The Spanish civil War, which pitted workers and peasants against the military, nationalist and fascist, had broken out one month previously. And it was clear on what side Lorca's sympathies lay: “I will always be on the side of those who have nothing and who are not even allowed to enjoy the nothing they have in peace.”