Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Federico García Lorca: Simple song of the first desire

    In the green morning,

I wanted to be heart.

Heart.

.

    And in the ripe afternoon

I wanted to be mockingbird.

Mockingbird.

.

    (Soul,

Put on the color of orange.

Soul,

put on the color of love).

.

    Alive in the morning,

I wanted to be I.

Heart.

.

    And in the afternoon collapse

I wanted to be my voice.

Mockingbird.

.

    Soul,

put on the color of orange!

Soul,

put on the color of love!

Cancioncilla del primer deseo

    En la mañana verde,
quería ser corazón.
Corazón.

    Y en la tarde madura
quería ser ruiseñor.
Ruiseñor.

    (Alma,
ponte color de naranja.
Alma,
ponte color de amor).

    En la mañana viva,
yo quería ser yo.
Corazón.

    Y en la tarde caída
quería ser mi voz.
Ruiseñor.

    ¡Alma,
ponte color naranja!
¡Alma,
ponte color de amor!


Translation 2019 John Samuel Tieman

Translator’s note: Here’s a little Garcia Lorca bit I did yesterday.   I was waiting for my beloved to get ready for the symphony, and just came across this poem.   It seems like a nice spring song by a young poet for young people. Funny, but even something so simple posed some interesting questions.   Like, what to do with “ruiseñor”, which technically is nightingale.   Except we don’t have nightingales.   It also is translated as mockingbird, probably because that’s what the first Spaniards called the North American bird.   (The English word robin refers to about thirty different birds throughout the Commonwealth.   I used to refer to this thing I’d see in my yard in the D. F. as “a Mexican robin”.)   I used the word mockingbird because nightingale just seems too poet-ie, too poet-ish. This was fun.

Federico García Lorca

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