THE DISPUTE

      THE DISPUTE

To Rafael Méndez

Halfway down the steep ravine
blades from Albacete,
lovely with the other's blood,
are glistening like fish.
Against the bitter green,
a card-hard light
traces raging horses
and riders' silhouettes.
Sitting in an olive tree,
two old women weep.
The bull of the dispute
is driven up the walls.
Black angels were bringing
handkerchiefs and melted snow.
Angels with enormous wings
of blades from Albacete.
Juan Antonio from Montilla
tumbles down the incline, dead,
irises across his body,
a pomegranate in his head.
Now he rides a flaming cross
along the road of death.

          *

The judge comes through the olive grove
with the Civil Guard.
The seeped-out blood is moaning
mute song of the serpent.
"Civil Guardsmen, Sirs,
it was just the usual thing:
four Romans dead
and five Carthaginians."

          *

The afternoon, gone mad
with figs and heated sounds,
swoons and falls upon
the riders' wounded thighs.
Black angels were flying
on the western breeze.
Angels with long braids
and hearts of soothing oil.

Federico García Lorca, 1928
Translator: Will Kirkland


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Original version