Federico Garcia Lorca


Federico García Lorca was born in Fuente Vaqueros, Granada on the 5th of June, 1898 and died the 19th of August, 1936. His life spanned the years between the Year of Disaster and the Spanish Civil War which ultimately victimized him. He travelled throughout Spain and America, principally Argentina, living and writing some of the most beautiful poetry ever written. His poetry has been translated into a dozen languages and his name is known worldwide. His personal life is the subject of much debate now, relating to his tendencies and friends. This page is dedicated to his poetry, written by him for us to enjoy instead of dissecting his personality.

Lorca's poetry and plays combine elements of Andalusion folklore with sophisticated and often surrealistic poetic techniques, cut across all social and educational barriers. Works include: Thus Five Years Pass, The Public, Dona Rosita. He is toted to have succeeded in the creation of a viable poetic idiom for the stage, superior to the works of his contemporaries, Yeats, Eliot and Claudel.

August 9, 1936, Falangist soldiers dragged the Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca into a field, shot him and tossed his body into an unmarked grave... Franco's government tried to obliterate Lorca's memory. His books were prohibited, his name forbidden.

Lorca and Bunuel
Lorca and his good friend, film director Luis Buñuel

One of the first and most famous casualties of the Spanish Civil War, Lorca quickly became an almost mythical figure, a symbol of all the victims of political oppression and fascist tyranny. People began speaking publicly about Lorca again in the late 1940's, and The House of Barnardo Alba was the first of his plays to be produced in Spain (1950), since his death and since the end of the war. Though foreign influence helped to loosen the Franco regimes control over Lorca's work, bans were still placed as late as 1971. Due to public outcry however, Lorca's work was produced.

Lorca's reconquest of the Spanish public, and his growing prestige among scholars is a relatively recent phenomenon. When his works began to recirculate freely, many people who knew only the Gypsy Ballads and two or three of the more popular plays considered Lorca a poet of limited interest and local color. When his later poetry -Poet in New York- and experimental plays such as The Public came to be better known and understood, attitudes changed.


Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias

1. Cogida and death

At five in the afternoon.
It was exactly five in the afternoon.
A boy brought the white sheet
at five in the afternoon.
A frail of lime ready prepared
at five in the afternoon.
The rest was death, and death alone
at five in the afternoon.

The wind carried away the cottonwool
at five in the afternoon.
And the oxide scattered crystal and nickel
at five in the afternoon.
Now the dove and the leopard wrestle
at five in the afternoon.
And a thigh with a desolate horn
at five in the afternoon.
The bass-string struck up
at five in the afternoon.
Arsenic bells and smoke
at five in the afternoon.
Groups of silence in the corners
at five in the afternoon.
And the bull alone with a high heart!
At five in the afternoon.
When the sweat of snow was coming
at five in the afternoon,
when the bull ring was covered in iodine
at five in the afternoon.
Death laid eggs in the wound
at five in the afternoon.
At five in the afternoon.
Exactly at five o'clock in the afternoon.

A coffin on wheels in his bed
at five in the afternoon.
Bones and flutes resound in his ears
at five in the afternoon.
Now the bull was bellowing through his forehead
at five in the afternoon.
The room was iridescent with agony
at five in the afternoon.
In the distance the gangrene now comes
at five in the afternoon.
Horn of the lily through green groins
at five in the afternoon.
The wounds were burning like suns
at five in the afternoon,
and the crowd was breaking the windows
at five in the afternoon.
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!

2. The Spilled Blood

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!

The moon wide open.
Horse of still clouds,
and the grey bull ring of dreams
with willows in the barreras.

I will not see it!

Let my memory kindle!
Warm the jasmines
of such minute whiteness!

I will not see it!

The cow of the ancient world
passed her sad tongue
over a snout of blood
spilled on the sand,
and the bulls of Guissando,
partly death and partly stone,
bellowed like two centuries
sated with treading the earth.
I do not want to see it!
I will not see it!

Ignacio goes up the tiers
with all his death on his shoulders.
He sought for the dawn
but the dawn was no more.
He seeks for his confident profile
and the dream bewilders him.
He sought for his beautiful body
and encountered his opened blood.
I will not see it!
I do not want to hear it spurt
each time with less strength:
that spurt that illuminates
the tiers of seats, and spills
over the corduroy and the leather
of a thirsty multitude.
Who shouts that I should come near!
Do not ask me to see it!

His eyes did not close
when he saw the horns near,
but the terrible mothers
lifted their heads.
And across the ranches,
an air of secret voices rose,
shouting to celestial bulls,
herdsmen of pale mist.
There was no prince in Seville
who could compare to him,
nor sword like his sword
nor heart so true.
Like a river of lions
was his marvellous strength,
and like a marble toroso
his firm drawn moderation.
The air of Andalusian Rome
gilded his head
where his smile was a spikenard
of wit and intelligence.
What a great torero in the ring!
What a good peasant in the sierra!
How gentle with the sheaves!
How hard with the spurs!
How tender with the dew!
How dazzling the fiesta!
How tremendous with the final
banderillas of darkness!
But now he sleeps without end.
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,
sliding on frozen horns,
faltering soulless 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!
I will not see it!
No chalice can contain it,
no swallows can drink it,
no frost of light can cool it,
nor song nor deluge of white lilies,
no glass can cover it with silver.
I will not see it!



La Barraca's Logo

Lorca founded the universitary theater group La Barraca and travel through Spain's villages playing Spanish classics. Here's the logo.




Lorca wearing La Barraca's uniform
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