Friday, February 17, 2006


Art, when it is allowed to flourish and thrive is the natural enemy of Fascism. One of the early victims of the Civil War was the great Spanish Poet, Musician and Playright Federico Garcia Lorca. Born on June 5th, 1898 to the village of Fuente Vaqueros in the Province 0f Granada, among the more conservative areas of Spain, Lorca, like many artists, did not excell in school but achieved early. His first collection of poems, Impresiones y paisajes, or Impressions and Landscapes was published in his twentieth year. From what I have read of his work he was neither political in an overt way nor a firebrand but a man who wrote of gypsies and love, of nature and the beauty of Spain. Though he struggled to conceal his homosexuality to all but his closest of friends, this, in the end, might have been what incited the ire of reactionary elements in Spanish Society. At the outbreak of the War, although he was cautioned against it, he left Madrid to return to his native Granada. There he and his brother-in-law were arrested on August 19th, 1936, beaten and executed by a Falangist firing squad. Lorca's body was deposited in an unmarked grave. His works were supressed as long as Franco reigned and it was only after Franco's death in 1975 that his legacy was allowed to be openly discussed. Today in the Plaza Victoria in Madrid a Statue of Lorca releasing a dove from his hands shadows the Teatro EspaƱol. Political philosopher David Crocker explains: "the statue, at least, is still an emblem of the contested past: each day, the Left puts a red kerchief on the neck of the statue, and someone from the Right comes later to take it off."

I do not pretend to be an expert on his work, but offer a poem of his that I love.

I know that my profile will be serene
in the north of an unreflecting sky.
Mercury of vigil, chaste mirror
to break the pulse of my style.
For if ivy and the cool of linen
are the norm of the body I leave behind,
my profile in the sand will be the old
unblushing silence of a crocodile.
And though my tongue of frozen doves
will never taste of flame,
only of empty broom,
I'll be a free sign of oppressed norms
on the neck of the stiff branch
and in an ache of dahlias without end.
- Garcia Lorca


Anonymous WhattheH said...

I was not familiar with Lorca, but I really like the poem. I'll be looking for his published works tomorrow at the Library. Thanks

4:23 PM  
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