Tag Archives: sadness

The meaning of lorca


I will give everything away
and weep my passion
like a lost child
in a forgotten tale.
from Minor Song, Lorca


If I were to invent my own language, my word for sad would be lorca. It has a melancholy sound that suits the plaintive tone I would wish the word to embody. In my language, if you say a word, the important thing will be to really feel the word as I intend you to feel and understand it.

Sonnet of the Sweet Complaint

Never let me lose the marvel
of your statue eyes or the accent
that by night the solitary rose of your breath
places on my cheek.

I’m afraid to be on this shore
a trunk without limbs, and what I most regret
is not to have flower, pulp or clay
for the worm of my suffering.

If you are my hidden treasure,
if you are my cross and my wet sorrow,
if I am the dog of your dominion,

do not let me lose what I have won
and adorn the waters of your river
with leaves of my alienated autumn.

– Federico García Lorca

In Collected Poems of Federico García Lorca revised bilingual edition edited by Christopher Maurer there are hundreds of poems by this delicate poet. His use of imagery (bright crowd of the winds…) is breathtaking as in the last stanzas of the poem Weathervane, his lorca, is mine, and he will break my heart one line at a time, but generously restore the spark word by word:

Things that go away never return-
everybody knows that.
And in the bright crowd of the winds
there’s no use complaining!
Am I right, poplar, teacher of the breeze?
There’s no use complaining!

   Without any wind
– Look sharp!-
Turn, heart.
Turn, my heart.

The celebrated Spanish poet’s work has the rare veracity of timelessness. He lived from 1898 to 1936, I actually rechecked the dates on the bio after I read one poem, because there is nothing stuffy or old fashioned in his use of language, or in his exposed vulnerability. There is no indication from his poems that he is separated from us by time or culture. At just under one thousand pages this is quite the tomb to haul around for a breath of words to sooth one’s soul, but it is worth its weight, and then some.

And if we’re tricked by love?
Who will inspire us
if we’re sunk by dusk
in the true knowledge
of Good that might not exist
and Evil that beats close by?

-from Autumn Song