Featured Poem

Romance de la Pena Negra

Rooster-beaks sharp as mattocks excavate the dawn
as Soledad Montoya climbs down the dark mountain.

Yellow copper, her flesh. Scent of horses and shadows.
Her breasts, two smoking anvils, resound with round moans.

Soledad, whom do you ask for, alone and at this hour?
‘What does it matter? I ask for the one I ask for.
I seek what I am searching for: my joy and my own self.’

Soledad of my sorrow, hard-mouthed and untameable,
in the end you’ll reach the sea, and waves will swallow you.

‘Don’t remind me of the sea, for if you do the black pain
will unfurl in the land of olives beneath the rumour of leaf-rain.’

Soledad, what hurt you suffer! What great pathetic grief!
Lemon tears bitter with waiting roll into your mouth.

‘What enormous pain! I run back and forth like a madwoman,
from hearth to bed-post, my braids dragging on the ground.

What pain! I am turning into jet: black flesh, black clothes.
Ay, my fine linen shifts! Ay, my thighs frail as poppies!’

Soledad, wash your body with the dew of skylarks.
Soledad Montoya, rest your heart in remotest peace.

Far below sings the river, streaming with sky and leaves.
New light crowns itself with yellow squash-flowers.

Oh the pain of the gypsies! Pain so clean and alone.
Pain of hidden river-beds and unapproachable dawns.


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About the translation:
Poet:
Federico Garcia Lorca
Translator:
Julith Jedamus
Original language:
Spanish
Issue:
Series 3 Number 18 - Transitions

About the author

Federico Garcia Lorca

Original poet

Federico Garcia Lorca

Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca (5 June 1898 – 19 August 1936) was a Spanish poet, dramatist and theatre di...

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Translator

Julith Jedamus

Julith Jedamus was born in Colorado and has lived in London for the past sixteen years. Her first poetry collection, The Swerv...

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