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Saturday Poetry Blogging: Canción del jinete (1923)

April is the poet’s month.

Today is the last day of the Ministry of Culture’s celebration of National Poetry Month. Across the border at D.E.D. Space, Diane has some parting thoughts:

Some final thoughts on poetry…

Why read it? Because a poem can do two things for you. It can cause you to have a moment–and a lifetime–of joy over language. And it can say for you what you yourself have not found adequate words, or maybe any words, to express. Such is the nature of art, that we are enriched by both the medium and the message.

When people say they do not like poetry, they are denying the language, and they are denying their connection with the rest of the world.

— D.E.D. Space 2005-04-30: National poetry month–Day 30

The poem selected for this weekend leans on that connection with the rest of the world; it comes from the gay Andalusian poet, playwright, and political martyr, Federico García Lorca (1898-1936). It was written in 1923 and is sometimes titled Canción de jinete (1860), evoking an era of smuggling through the Sierra Morena (the mountain range dividing Andalusia from northern Spain).

Canción del jinete

Córdoba.
Lejana y sola.

Jaca negra, luna grande,
y aceitunas en mi alforja.
Aunque sepa los caminos,
yo nunca llegaré a Córdoba.

Por el llano, por el viento,
jaca negra, luna roja.
La muerte me está mirando
desde las torres de Córdoba.

¡Ay que camino tan largo!
¡Ay mi jaca valerosa!
¡Ay que la muerte me espera,
antes de llegar a Córdoba!

Córdoba.
Lejana y sola.

Here’s a translation, mostly fairly literal, but also attempting to preserve something like the music of García Lorca’s Spanish.

The Rider’s Song

Cordoba.
Lonely in the distance.

A black nag, the giant moon
And olives in my saddlebag.
Even if I know the way,
I never will reach Cordoba.

Over the plain, into the wind,
A black nag, the red moon.
The Reaper is watching for me
From up in the towers of Cordoba.

Oh, such a long road!
Oh, my valient nag!
Oh, but the Reaper awaits me
Before I ever reach Cordoba.

Cordoba.
Lonely in the distance.

National Poetry Month 2005 selections

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