Friday, October 19, 2007

Lorca Found After Many Years Lost, or Why Poetry is Better than Sex!

Too long ago... so many years. I am old enough to call myself, old, but not so old that I've gotten used to it.

What was I going to say? (you see what I mean?)

Ah yes, Federico Garcia Lorca. Long, long ago I watched a college production of The House of Bernada Alba, this, not long after my first reading of The Trojan Women. I fell in love with Lorca--unfortunately, I took German that year, did not continue my Spanish. Not then or since.

There is only so much time in a life...

What was I saying... ?

Ah, Lorca!

Maybe it was the Spender translations, but I haven't read (or hadn't) read Lorca in more than 40 years. I went looking for the recent translation of Poet in New York (I try to find my books in this order 1: at local independents, 2: at Borders 3: Amazon. No luck at the local independents. I was sure Robins would have it! The best poetry selection in Philly... confess I didn't get to Jos. Fox... I was tired, my feet hurt... so I settled on Christopher Maurer's "Selected Verse" anthology--several translators.

This is why poetry is better than sex...

If I'd come across one of my old lovers... of the same era as my first affair with Lorca... she/they would have been as appalled at me, post-through-the-windshield wreck of an old man... as I would likely have been at her/them.

But Lorca has not aged. We have aged, and see his poems through different eyes, but the poems have not aged... gnus that spayed gnus and all that.

This is how you (fool yourself into believing) ... you stay young!

Thank you, Jonathan Mayhew. Do check out Bimsha Swings! (see my Blog List). Someone who cares enough about poetry to make himself obnoxious... for the best reasons.


Behind each mirror
is a dead star
& a baby rainbow

Behind each mirror
is a blank forever
& a nest of silences
too young to fly.

The mirror is the wellspring
become mummy, closes
like a shell of light
at sunset

The mirror
is the mother dew,
the book of desiccated
twilights, echo become flesh.


Small golden bells.
Dragon pagoda.
Tinkle tinkle
over the ricefields.

Primal fountain.
Fountain of the real.

Far off,
pink-colored herons
& the spent volcano.

translated by Jerome Rothenberg.
From Selected Verses. Ed Christopher Maurer. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Note bene: I have cut-and-pasted my index reference to Lorca from Mayhew. Let anyone with a complaint take it to him.

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