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For Dámaso Alonso

Preciosa comes playing
her moon of parchment
on an amphibious path
of crystals and laurels.
The silence without stars
fleeing from the sound,
falls to the sea that pounds and sings,
its night filled with fish.
On the peaks of the sierra
the carabineers are sleeping
guarding the white turrets
where the English live.
And the gypsies of the water
build, to amuse themselves,
bowers, out of snails
and twigs of green pine.


Preciosa comes playing
her moon of parchment.
Seeing her, the wind rises,
the one that never sleeps.
Saint Christopher, naked
full of celestial tongues
gazes at the child playing
a sweet distracted piping.

—Child, let me lift your dress
so that I can see you.
Open the blue rose of your womb
with my ancient fingers.


Preciosa hurls her tambourine
and runs without stopping.
The man-in-the-wind pursues her
with a burning sword.

The sea gathers its murmurs.
The olive-trees whiten.
The flutes of the shadows sound,
and the smooth gong of the snow.

Run, Preciosa, run,
lest the green wind catch you!
Run, Preciosa, run!
See where he comes!
The satyr of pale stars
with his shining tongues.


Preciosa, full of fear,
way beyond the pines,
enters the house that belongs,
to the English Consul.

Alarmed at her cries
three carabineers come,
their black capes belted,
and their caps over their brows.

The Englishman gives the gypsy girl
a glass of lukewarm milk,
and a cup of gin that
Preciosa does not drink.

And while, with tears, she tells
those people of her ordeal,
the angry wind bites the air
above the roofs of slate.


Federico García Lorca, 1928
Translation by A. S. Kline

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