Monday, April 11, 2005

from "Ballad of One Doomed to Die"

by Federico Garcia Lorca, 1924-7
(translated by Langston Hughes)

On the twenty-fifth of June
they said to Amargo:
-Now, you may cut, if you wish,
the oleanders in your courtyard.
Paint a cross on your door
and put your name beneath it,
for hemlock and nettle
shall take root in your side
and needles of wet lime
will bite into your shoes.
It will be night, in the dark,
in the magnetic mountains
where water-oxen drink
in the reeds, dreaming.
Ask for lights and bells.
Learn to cross your hands,
to taste the cold air
of metals and of cliffs
because within two months
you'll lie down shrouded.


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