Lament for Federico García Lorca*


You will always be a myth weaver
with coal-black eyes who sings to me
across the years of gypsies on shadowed roads,
of velvet dark, of orchid dreams,
of girls at night who wait downstream,
windows open wide for men on horseback
making their way down rocky slopes.

But the riders have fallen–
their underwater faces
waver in moonlight cisterns,
their arms like lilies glow under silver beams.

If I could hold your hand across the years,
lift you from the rivers where you wept,
I’d draw you to my chest,
wipe the tears you shed
for all the lovers
who slept before their time
on earth was due to end,
for children who died before
they learned the dance,
for men who were the darlings
of other men,
for Spirits of the Wind
who tore away the chokehold
of the trance.

The stars began to fade
the night you died–
shot in a cave, tossed in a grave.
Now your words of passion
shine for you instead.

*This title is in reference to Federico García Lorca’s poem, Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías.

I first wrote this poem as a sonnet:


Lament for Federico Garcia Lorca

Garcia Lorca’s lambent words release
their light across the years – his gypsy songs,
laments for dying heroes now at peace
in moonlight cisterns shadowed all night long.
If I could hold his hand across the years,
and lift him from the rivers where he wept,
I’d draw him to my heart and wipe the tears
he shed for all the lovers who have slept
before their time on earth was due to end,
for children who were born to those who danced,
for men who were the darlings of their men,
for those who broke the chokehold of the trance.
The stars began to fade the night he bled–
his words of passion shine for him instead.

***

The prompt this week at Read Write Poem is to break the rules. I took what I liked from the sonnet, and rearranged the lines to suit the spirit of the poem. Lot’s of rule smashing going on here!

26 thoughts on “Lament for Federico García Lorca*

  1. deb says:

    This is a delightful way to break the rules. Good for you! It’s interesting how the passion rises in your remix, in waves and swells. It’s much more tempered in the true sonnet version. I somehow imagine Lorca would prefer the remix, 🙂 although they both have their beauty.

    Like

  2. Michelle says:

    Beautiful, Christine!

    I love your “remix” images:

    “the years of gypsies on shadowed roads”

    “orchid dreams”

    “girls at night who wait downstream,
    windows open wide for men on horseback
    making their way down rocky slopes.”

    “But the riders have fallen–
    their underwater faces
    waver in moonlight cisterns,
    their arms like lilies glow under silver beams.”

    “for men who were the darlings
    of other men,
    for Spirits of the Wind
    who tore away the chokehold
    of the trance.”

    Thank you.

    Like

  3. dale says:

    Wow. An advertisement for breaking rules. Everything comes in so much more vivid and powerful in the rewrite.

    My favorite addition is “men on horseback / making their way down rocky slopes.”

    Completely changes the sense of the waiting, to have that image of who they’re waiting for.

    Like

  4. odessa says:

    christine, as a fan of lorca, this touched me very deeply and i’m sure it will stay with me for a long time. your imagery is amazing! also, i had imagined myself as one of the gypsy girls who inspired his poems so naturally that part was my favorite. *smiles*

    Like

  5. Jo says:

    for Spirits of the Wind
    who tore away the chokehold
    of the trance.

    Wow. This is gorgeous. You did a really good job here, C, the rhythm is wonderful and as everyone else has said, some amazing imagery.

    Like

  6. Dick says:

    As a Lorca supporter and a recent discoverer of the pleasures of your poetry, I’ll go for the former. Both appropriate hommage and the sentiments expressed require openness of form.

    Like

  7. carolee says:

    i like shaking things up like this. 🙂 it’s a great plan to take a poem you’ve written one way and re-make it with fewer rules. it’s interesting both ways. very brave to tear into pieces something so labor-intensive as a sonnet.

    Like

  8. durable pigments says:

    What a delightful way to break the rules! I love the passion and heart of the rewrite; switching from “him” to “you” is particularly effective. Love the image of “But the riders have fallen– / their underwater faces
    waver in moonlight cisterns.”

    Like

  9. S.L. Corsua says:

    I’ve certainly enjoyed the free-verse version, especially the imagery and flow in the first two stanzas. I’m blown away by the sonnet; there, with the breeze-slow-and-gentle rhythm, I’ve really felt the ‘lament’ (I caught myself sighing). 😉 Cheers.

    Like

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