[After Words]

Preciosa and the Wind

To Dámaso Alonso

 Preciosa playing
her parchment moon,
comes down an amphibious trail
of crystal and laurel
Fleeing the sound,
the silence falls, without a star,
to where the sea sings and pounds
its night full of fishes.
Up on the mountain peaks,
the carabineers sleep
guarding the white towers
where the Englishmen live,
And the water gypsies,
to pass away the hours,
make bowers out of sea snails
and wands of evergreen.

  * * *

  Playing her parchment moon,
Preciosa comes on.
And seeing her, the wind,
who never sleeps, begins to rise.
St. Christopher, a naked giant,
full of sky-blue tongues,
watches as the gypsy pipes
a sweet, distracted tune.

 "Missy, let me lift
your dress and see you.
Open in my ancient fingers
the blue rose of your womb. "

 Preciosa hurls her tambourine
and runs wildly away.
The wind-man chases after her
with a burning sword.

The ocean ruffles up its roar.
The olive trees turn pale.
The flutes of cane-deep shadows sing,
and the smooth gong of the snow.

 Preciosa, run, Preciosa,
or the old green wind will catch you!
Preciosa, run, Preciosa!
Watch out! Here he comes!
Satyr of low stars
with his shimmering tongues.

  * * *

 Preciosa, full of fear,
runs to the house
where the English consul lives
up beyond the pines.

Frightened by her screams
three carabineers come,
black capes belted tight,
caps drawn below the eye.

 The consul gives the gypsy
a cup of warm milk,
and a bracer of gin
that Preciosa does not drink.

And while she cries
and tells of her ordeal,
the wind, on slate-gray tiles,
gnaws furiously above.

"Preciosa y el aire", ©, Federico García Lorca
From The Gypsy Ballads
English translation, © 1996, Will Kirkland


Previous | Table of Contents | Next


Writings | Contact | Home

After Words
Copyright 1998-1999