BALLAD OF BLACK GRIEF

BALLAD OF BLACK GRIEF

To José Navarro Pardo

The little picks of the roosters
are chipping holes for the dawn.
Down the dark of the mountain
comes Soledad Montoya.
Saffron copper her flesh
with a smell of the woods and horses.
Anvil and smoke, her breasts,
heaving their rounded songs.
"Soledad, you're looking for what
at a time like this, alone here?"
"Looking for never you mind!
What's it to you, my business?
I'm looking for just one thing:
to find myself. To be happy."
"Soledad my exasperation!
a horse that seizes the bit will
come at last to the seashore,
founder out in the surf."
"Never you mind about seashore!
Bitter grief comes welling,
back in lands of the olive,
under a whisper of leaves."
"Soledad, what grief you're suffering!
grief that I feel for, deeply.
Bitter as lemon, your tears,
bitter as waiting lips."
"Awful to bear! I run
through my house like a girl possessed,
tresses trailing the floor,
kitchen to bedroom and back.
Awful. I'm turning fast
—skirt, flesh— to a thing of jet.
Too bad for my pretty slips!
Too bad for my thighs' silk poppy!"
"Soledad, go bathe your limbs
in pools of dew with the skylark.
Leave it in peace, your heart,
in peace, Soledad Montoya!"

Below there's a river singing
in eddies of heaven and leaves.
A new day dawns to be crowned with
blossoms of pumpkin and squash.
O grief of the gypsy heart!
grief pure and forever lonely.
Grief from a source unknown, its
hour of dawn remote.

Federico García Lorca, 1928
Translator: John Frederick Nims


   Romancero Gitano    
Recitado por Miguel Herrero
Original version
Ilustración FGL: Soledad Montoya   Ilustración FGL: Soledad Montoya