Absent Soul / Alma Ausente


This article excerpt by way of Jim from the New Statesman:

“Seventy years ago, in the middle of a late summer night, Spain’s greatest 20th-century poet, Federico García Lorca, was bundled into a hollow in a wooded ravine north of Granada and shot dead. Lorca, 38, was a challenge to everything Franco’s clerical fascism stood for. He was gay. He hailed Spain’s infant democracy. His sympathies were with the left.

The poet could have fled Granada easily when it fell to the nationalists in the first days of the uprising against the Spanish republic, but he chose to stay with his sister, who was married to the city’s mayor. Yet, despite fame, status and connections, he was soon dragged away and murdered.”

And an excerpt from “Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías” (history behind the poem):

4. Absent Soul

The bull does not know you, nor the fig tree,
nor the horses, nor the ants in your own house.
The child and the afternoon do not know you
because you have died for ever.

The back of the stone does not know you,
nor the black stain in which you crumble.
Your silent memory does not know you
because you have died for ever.

The autumn will come with small white snails,
misty grapes and with clustered hills,
but no one will look into your eyes
because you have died for ever.

Because you have died for ever,
like all the death of the Earth,
like all the dead who are forgotten
in a heap of lifeless dogs.

Nobody knows you. No. But I sing of you.
For posterity I sing of your profile and grace.
Of the signal maturity of your understanding.
Of your appetite for death and the taste of its mouth.
Of the sadness of your once valient gaiety.

It will be a long time, if ever, before there is born
an Andalusian so true, so rich in adventure.
I sing of his elegance with words that groan,
and I remember a sad breeze through the olive trees.

Federico García Lorca

2 Responses to “Absent Soul / Alma Ausente”

  1. Erin B. Says:
    September 12th, 2006 at 9:57 pm eThanks for this. Terrifying. And his work’s so damn terrific. His work & his life show such courage. Should life & work blur into one another? Yes.
  2. Amy King Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 12:28 am eMost, most welcome, Erin!


AMY KING View All →

Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She co-edited with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edits the anthology series, Bettering American Poetry, and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.

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