disquietingmuses


"Buildings"  Copyright 2000 Andrew Hornischer



Sleepwalking Ballad


Green, I love you, green,
green wind, green branches.
The ship on the sea,
and the horse in the mountain.
A shadow round her waist,
she dreams on her balcony,
green flesh, green hair,
eyes of cold silver.
Green, I love you, green.
Beneath the gypsy moon,
things are looking at her,
and she can't look at them.

Green, I love you, green.
Green frosted stars,
a fish made of shadow
opens the way for dawn.
A fig tree rubs the wind
with its sandpaper branches,
and the bill, a thieving cat,
bristles sour blades of agave.
But, who'll come? And from where?...
She remains on her balcony,
green flesh, green hair,
dreaming of the bitter sea.
     "Compadre, I want to trade
my horse for your house,
my saddle for your mirror,
my knife for your blanket.
Compadre, I've come bleeding
from the passes of Cabra."
     "I'd settle this matter,
if only I could, young man,
but I am not who I once was
and my house is not my house anymore."
     "Compadre, I want to die
decently in my bed,
an iron one, if you could,
with sheets from Holland.
Don't you see this wound
from my chest to my throat?"
     "Three hundred dark roses
cover your shirtfront.
Your blood oozes and smells
around your belt,
but I am not who I once was,
and my house is not my house anymore"
     "Let me at least climb
to the high handrails.
Let me go up, let me,
up to the green handrails,
the railings of the moon,
where the water crashes down."

Now the two compadres climb
toward the high handrails,
leaving traces of blood,
leaving traces of tears.
Tin Chinese lanterns
tremble on the roof tiles,
a thousand glass tambourines
lacerate the dawn.

Green, I love you, green,
green wind, green branches.
The two compadres climb.
The long wind leaves
an unusual taste in the mouth:
honey, mint, basil.
     "Compadre, where is she? Tell me.
Where is your bitter daughter?"
     "How many times she waited for you,
how many times she would have waited for you,
fresh face, black hair,
on this green balcony?"

The gypsy woman sways
on the face of the cistern,
green flesh, green hair,
eyes of cold silver.
An icicle of moonlight
holds her on the water.
The night grows intimate,
like a tiny plaza.
Drunken state police
hang on the door.
Green, I love you, green,
green wind, green branches.
The ship on the sea,
and the horse in the mountain.


Federico Garcia Lorca
translation by Renato Resaldo copyright 2000


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