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April 29, 2023_Lorca, a new translation

by Lenska

I started working on translating some of the poetry composed by Federico Garcia Lorca in 2022, mostly because I was never satisfied with the existing translations into English. It seemed to me that the English work did not quite capture the dream-like mythos of Lorca’s writing. I also delved into translation as another way of active engagement with poetry. Here is one example of my translation. The original Spanish follows. Am I satisfied with my translation? At this point in time, not quite. I think I gained some ground but not nearly as much as I hoped I would!

Qasidah I - Of One Wounded by Water

I want to walk down to the wellspring

I want to walk along the city walls of Granada,

to behold the heart wounded

by the dark arrow of waters.

The wounded boy groaned

under the crown of frost.

Ponds, cisterns, fountains

raised their blades in the air.

Oh! What fury of love, what wounding edge,

what nocturnal rumor, what white death!

What deserts of light flooding over the

sandhills at dawn!

The boy was alone,

the city asleep at his throat.

A water-fount straight out of dreams

defends him against the hunger of the algae.

The boy and his agony, face to face,

two green rains intertwined.

The boy stretched out on the ground

and agony bent over him.

I want to walk down to the wellspring,

I want to die my death by the mouthfuls,

I want to fill my heart with moss,

to see the one wounded by the water.


Casida del herido por el agua

Quiero bajar al pozo,

quiero subir los muros de Granada,

para mirar el corazón pasado

por el punzón oscuro de las aguas.

El niño herido gemíacon

una corona de escarcha.

Estanques, aljibes y fuentes

levantaban al aire sus espadas.

¡Ay qué furia de amor, qué hiriente filo,

qué nocturno rumor, qué muerte blanca!

¡Qué desiertos de luz iban hundiendo

los arenales de la madrugada!

El niño estaba solocon

la ciudad dormida en la garganta.

Un surtidor que viene de los sueños

lo defiende de hambre de las algas.

El niño y su agonía frente a frente,

eran dos verdes lluvias enlazadas.

El niño se tendía por la tierra

y su agonía se curvaba.

Quiero bajar al pozo,

quiero morir mi muerte a bocanadas,

quiero llenar mi corazón de musgo,

para ver al herido por el agua.


Thumbnail photo is credited to Spencer Means, and is licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

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