Raw Rose Crystal Sediment Of The Sun

A Cold February Morning in Minnesota, 2021.

To Find A Kiss of Yours

Federico García Lorca – 1898-1936

translated by Sarah Arvio

To find a kiss of yours
what would I give
A kiss that strayed from your lips
dead to love

My lips taste
the dirt of shadows     

To gaze at your dark eyes
what would I give
Dawns of rainbow garnet  
fanning open before God— 

The stars blinded them
one morning in May

And to kiss your pure thighs
what would I give
Raw rose crystal  
sediment of the sun


[Por encontrar un beso tuyo]

Por encontrar un beso tuyo,
¿qué daría yo?
¡Un beso errante de tu boca
muerta para el amor!

(Tierra de sombra
come mi boca.)

Por contemplar tus ojos negros,
¿qué daría yo?
¡Auroras  de carbunclos irisados
abiertas frente a Dios!

(Las estrellas los cegaron
una mañana de mayo.)

Y por besar tus muslos castos,
¿qué daría yo?

(Cristal de rosa primitiva,
sedimento de sol.)

In a year when its easy to think about all the things that are unavailable or have changed, I have to remind myself once in a while how amazing it is to be alive, how truly blessed I am.  On this Valentine’s Day, I am thankful to be in love, to be loved and to still have the capacity to be amazed how beautiful the world is, even when its -15 F degrees below zero.  I am grateful that I know the raw rose crystals of the sun. 

Happy Valentines Day!

Time Will Find Us Utterly Destroyed

Jorge Luis Borges

I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library.

Jorge Luis Borges

Sonnet of the Garland of Roses

by Federico Garcia Lorca
Translated by Paul Archer

A garland, quick, I’m dying!
Weave it now, sing and moan and sing!
For shadows my throat are clouding
and again the January light comes in.

Trembling bushes and the air of stars
lie between your love and mine,
a dense mass of anemones picks up
an entire year with a muffled moan.

Revel in the open country of my wound,
break apart its reeds and delicate rivulets,
drink from my thigh my pouring blood.

But be quick! And then, together entwined,
with love-broken mouths and frayed souls
time will find us utterly destroyed.

Soneto de al Guirnalda de Rosas

by Federico Garcia Lorca

¡Esa guirnalda! ¡pronto! ¡que me muero!
¡Teje deprisa! ¡canta! ¡gime! ¡canta!
que la sombra me enturbia la garganta
y otra vez y mil la luz de enero

Entre lo que me quieres y te quiero,
aire de estrellas y temblor de planta,
espesura de anémonas levanta
con oscuro gemir un año enter

Goza el fresco paisaje de mi herida,
quiebra juncos y arroyos delicados.
Bebe en muslo de miel sangre vertida.

Pero ¡pronto! Que unidos, enlazados,
boca rota de amor y alma mordida,
el tiempo nos encuentre destrozados.

Don’t ever think for a moment that poetry isn’t dangerous.  Poetry that crosses the boundary from mere words into art, by its very nature is dangerous.  Dangerous for the writer and the reader, a danger that you will be forever changed to your core, subverted.  Is that as good a definition of subversive as any – poetry?

How many poets have lost their lives because their poetry was too subversive for the politics of their times, either by their own hand or their enemies?   Federico Garcia Lorca was a casualty of the Spanish Civil war, his body never found, his execution and likely torture at the hands of the right wing for being a socialist and a homosexual.  Which was the greater crime in the eyes of his judges and executioners?

Lorca and Borges are two of the more prominent Spanish poets, dramatists and writers of their generation. Both used the sonnet form to great effect, but did not limit themselves to the confines of fourteen lines and explored a myriad of poetic forms and styles.  Borges had a wide knowledge of world literature, the connection to Milton with his sonnet below gives it more weight and complexity. Borges was born in Argentina but lived in Europe for much of his lifetime.   His surrealist style opened the eyes of writers around the world to mystical reality that imbibes great writing.   Unlike Lorca, Borges enjoyed a long life, dying in Switzerland that the age of 87.  I wonder if the “luminous mist” surrounded him?

On His Blindness

by Jorge Luis Borges (1899 – 1986)

In the fullness of the years, like it or not
a luminous mist surrounds the unvarying
that breaks down into a single thing
colorless, formless. Almost into a thought.
The elemental, vast night and the day,
teeming with people have become that fog
of constant, tentative light that does not flag,
and lies at wait at dawn.  I longed to see
just once a human face.  Unknown to me
the closed encyclopedia, the sweet play
in volumes I can do no more to hold
the tiny soaring birds, the moons of gold,
Others have the world, better or worse;
I have this half-dark, and the toil of verse.

If I Am A Dog

Federico Garcia Lorca 

Sonnet of the Sweet Complaint

by Federico García Lorca (1898 – 1936)

  Never let me lose the marvel
of your statue-like eyes, or the accent
the solitary rose of your breath
places on my cheek at night.

  I am afraid of being, on this shore,
a branchless trunk, and what I most regret
is having no flower, pulp, or clay
for the worm of my despair.

  If you are my hidden treasure,
if you are my cross, my dampened pain,
if I am a dog, and you alone my master,

  never let me lose what I have gained,
and adorn the branches of your river
with leaves of my estranged Autumn.

Soneto de la dulce queja

by Federico García Lorca

Tengo miedo a perder la maravilla
de tus ojos de estatua y el acento
que de noche me pone en la mejilla
la solitaria rosa de tu aliento.

Tengo pena de ser en esta orilla
tronco sin ramas; y lo que más siento
es no tener la flor, pulpa o arcilla,
para el gusano de mi sufrimiento.

Si tú eres el tesoro oculto mío,
si eres mi cruz y mi dolor mojado,
si soy el perro de tu señorío,

no me dejes perder lo que he ganado
y decora las aguas de tu río
con hojas de mi otoño enajenado.


Night of Sleepless Love

by Federico García Lorca

The night rose with its moon full above.
I began to mourn, and you laughed with contempt.
Your scorn was a god, and my poor lament
was a momentary, shackled dove.

The night fell.  You became a crystal of hurt,
weeping for distances slowly deepening.
My sadness, like a crowd of sores, came creeping
across your sickened heart of dirt.

But dawn joined our bodies on the bed
and with frozen lips pried wide apart
we drank the endless blood we’d shed.

And through the shutters, I saw sunrise start.
And the coral of life, with its branches spread,
arched high above my shroud.


Noche Del Amor Insomne

by Federico García Lorca

Noche arriba los dos con luna llena,
yo me puse a llorar y tú reías.
Tu desdén era un dios, las quejas mías
momentos y palomas en cadena.

Noche abajo los dos. Cristal de pena,
llorabas tú por hondas lejanías.
Mi dolor era un grupo de agonías
sobre tu débil corazón de arena.

La aurora nos unió sobre la cama,
las bocas puestas sobre el chorro helado
de una sangre sin fin que se derrama.

Y el sol entró por el balcón cerrado
y el coral de la vida abrió su rama
sobre mi corazón amortajado.