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Get a Daily Poetry Blast from the Florida Center for the Literary Arts!

April 7, 2010

Lorca -- one of Spain's greatest modern poets.

Early response to today’s blog poking fun at National Poetry Month is running about 10-1 against me, so I must bow to majority feeling and acknowledge that maybe devoting a month to poetry is not such a bad thing. In that case, let me recommend a Daily Poetry Blast from the Florida Center for the Literary Arts.

Sign up at www.flcenterlitarts.com to receive a poem emailed directly to your inbox each day for the rest of April. Wordsworth, Neruda, Pinsky, Rich — who knows which master will come to you next? Today’s poem, for example, is Dylan Thomas’s classic, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.”

You can read that poem by visiting the Center’s site, so I’m going to give you one that you’ve missed already. On Saturday, April 3, you could have received Federico Garcia Lorca’s “Casida de las polamas oscuras,” translated by A.S. Kline as “Casida of the Dark Doves:”

Through the laurel branches
I saw two doves of darkness.
The one it was the sun,
the other one was lunar.
I said: ‘Little neighbours
where is my tombstone?’
‘In my tail-feathers,’ the sun said.
‘In my throat,’ said the lunar.
And I who was out walking
with the earth wrapped round me,
saw two eagles made of white snow,
and a girl who was naked.
And the one was the other,
and the girl, she was neither.
I said: ‘Little eagles,
where is my tombstone?’
‘In my tail-feathers,’ the sun said.
‘In my throat,’ said the lunar.
Through the branches of laurel,
I saw two doves, both naked.
And the one was the other,
and the two of them were neither.

This enigmatic and melancholy verse is even more haunting when you consider that Lorca, one of Spain’s greatest 20 century poets, was executed by the Nationalists in 1936, during the Spanish Civil War. He was 38.

If you prefer, here’s the Spanish original:

Por las ramas del laurel
vi dos palomas oscuras.
La una era el sol,
la otra la luna.
«Vecinita», les dije,
«¿dónde está mi sepultura?»
«En mi cola», dijo el sol.
«En mi garganta», dijo la luna.
Y yo que estaba caminando
con la tierra por la cintura
vi dos águilas de nieve
y una muchacha desnuda.
La una era la otra
y la muchacha era ninguna.
«Aguilitas», les dije,
«¿dónde está mi sepultura?»
«En mi cola», dijo el sol.
«En mi garganta», dijo la luna.
Por las ramas del laurel
vi dos palomas desnudas.
La una era la otra
y las dos eran ninguna.

I always say, like my Daddy back home, “In for a dime, in for a dollar.” So if we’re going to do this National Poetry Month thing, then let’s go all the way. Sign up for your poetry blast today. Enjoy!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. John Karwacki permalink
    April 7, 2010 4:06 pm

    Okay, I’m in. Most poetry bores me to tears unless its mine or lyrics to a folk rock song. I obviously need more time because I wanted to comment on Monday’s blog, alas, “time is a thief…” by the by, Slate mag ran an amazing slide show yesterday on people around the world reading real live books in real live libraries – I could almost smell the pages. Thanks Chauncey for being so darn prolific and if nothing else I will struggle through the poems FCFA sends this month, because I can’t toss my desktop across the room.

  2. Chauncey Mabe permalink*
    April 7, 2010 4:08 pm

    You’re a good man, John. How did you like the Lorca?

  3. John Karwacki permalink
    April 7, 2010 7:44 pm

    “The one was the other and the two of them were neither.” I like it. I don’t think I get it, but I like it, which is sort of my response to most of the poetry I like. My first post may have been a tad flippant. I love “Do Not Go…” today’s Thomas entry. It reminds me of my Dad’s situation. I think I like reading Lorca in Spanish better, “La una era la otra y las dos eran ninguna.” Awesome dude.

  4. Chauncey Mabe permalink*
    April 8, 2010 12:18 am

    That’s why I included the Spanish original. I’m not bilingual but I do know, as the old country song has it, Spanish is the Loving Tongue (written by the cowboy poet Charles Badger Clark, copyrighted 1915, covered by Bob Dylan, among others — sweet!). Some things just sound better in Spanish, whether I can understand them or not. I, too, love “The one was the other and the two of them were neither,” and I think it’s like the Tao. If you understood it, then you could be sure you didn’t understand it.

  5. Candice permalink
    April 8, 2010 5:53 pm

    How can you love literature and not love poetry???

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