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    SLEEPWALKERS' BALLAD

To Gloria Giner
and Fernando de los Ríos

Green it's your green I love.
Green of the wind. Green branches.
The ship far out at sea.
The horse above on the mountain.
Shadows dark at her waist,
she's dreaming there on her terrace,
green of her cheek, green hair,
with eyes like chilly silver.
Green it's your green I love.
Under that moon of the gypsies
things are looking at her
but she can't return their glances.

Green it's your green I love.
The stars are frost, enormous;
a tuna cloud floats over
nosing off to the dawn.
The fig tree catches a wind
to grate in its emery branches;
the mountain's a wildcat, sly,
bristling its acrid cactus.
But - who's on the road? Which way?
She's dreaming there on her terrace,
green of her cheek, green hair,
she dreams of the bitter sea.

"Friend, what I want's to trade
this horse of mine for your house here.
this saddle of mine for your mirror,
this knife of mine for your blanket.

Friend, I come bleeding, see,
from the mountain pass of Cabra."
"I would if I could, young man;
I'd have taken you up already.
But I'm not myself any longer,
nor my house my home any more."
"Friend, what I want's to die
in a bed of my own - die nicely.
An iron bed, if there is one,
between good linen sheets.
I'm wounded, throat and breast,
from here to here - you see it?"
"You've a white shirt on; three hundred
roses across - dark roses.
There's a smell of blood about you:
your sash, all round you, soaked.
But I'm not myself any longer,
nor my house my home any more."
"Then let me go up, though; let me!
at least to the terrace yonder.
Let me go up then, let me!
up to the high green roof.
Terrace-rails of the moonlight,
splash of the lapping tank.

So they go up, companions,
up to the high roof-terrace;
a straggle of blood behind them,
behind, a straggle of tears.
Over the roofs, a shimmer
like little tin lamps, and glassy
tambourines by the thousand
slitting the glitter of dawn.

Green it's your green I love,
green of the wind, green branches
They're up there, two companions.
A wind from the distance leaving
its tang on the tongue, strange flavors
of bile, of basil and mint.
"Where is she, friend - that girl
with the bitter heart, your daughter?"
"How often she'd wait and wait,
how often she'd be here waiting,
fresh of face, hair black,
here in green of the terrace."

There in her terrace pool
was the gypsy girl, in ripples.
Green of her cheek, green hair,
with eyes like chilly silver.
Icicles from the moon
held her afloat on the water.
Night became intimate then -
enclosed, like a little plaza.
Drunken, the Civil Guard
had been banging the door below them.
Green it's your green I love.
Green of the wind. Green branches.
The ship far out at sea.
The horse above on the mountain.

autógrafo

Federico García Lorca, 1928
Translator: John Frederick Nims


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