Thursday, April 13, 2006


The Soul Absent

Neither the bull nor the fig tree know you,
nor your horses, nor the ants under your floor.
Neither the child nor the evening know you,
because you have died forever.

The spine of rock does not know you,
nor the black satin where you are ruined,
Your mute remembrance does not know you,
because you have died forever.

Autumn will come with its snails,
grapes in mist, and clustered mountains,
but no one will want to gaze in your eyes,
because you have died forever.

Because you have died forever,
like all the dead of the Earth,
like all the dead forgotten
in a pile of lifeless curs.

No one knows you. No. But I sing of you.
I sing for others your profile and grace.
The famed ripeness of your understanding.
Your appetite for death, pleasure in its savour.
The sadness your valiant gaiety contained.

Not for a long time, if ever, will there be born,
an Andalusian so brilliant, so rich in adventure.
I sing his elegance in words that moan,
and remember a sad breeze through the olive-trees.
Garcia Lorca


Anonymous WhattheH said...

Beautiful work, but I need context to fully understand. It sounds like an eulogy, in which case, to which Andalusian was he referring. On the other hand, it could refer to a concept, an idea?
I know - I'm a pain in the butkus.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Joe Don Martin said...

I, sir, would like to protest on behalf of myself, the bull, and the fig tree. We all know one another intimately, Biblically, you might say if I wasn't around to slap your face for being fresh. The three of us are nodding acquaintances with the horses- if by "horses", you mean "centaurs" and it is my duty to inform you of the genocide, the entomological cleansing that was visited upon the ants we pretended not to know, living under the floor. It was all the fig tree's idea. Bull and myself were simply following orders.

Pretty strong words for a killer whale. Are they, by chance, the lyrics to the "Free Willy" theme song as interpreted by Sealion Dion?

10:56 AM  
Blogger durrati said...


I am sure it is a eulogy though for whom I do not know. As always I enjoy Lorca for his imagery and for his straightforwardness in discussing death....

Joe, I think Orca's verses suffer from interpretation, whale to english can be problematic even without the participation of the lessor talented Dion...

Shit, now canuck will be pissed!

4:43 PM  
Blogger KidKawartha said...

Don't worry, folks, we hate her up here as much as you guys do down there. Hey, it's kind of hard to spellcheck after beer and wings.......Seeing two of everything here. I think of her as the national embarassment, along with Shania Twain. Hey, Celine has a voice, and she sure knows how to pick a husband! I gotta stop writing before the alchohol causes me to write something I'll regret later. Must empty bladder.......must lay down, room spinning.....

7:12 PM  
Blogger durrati said...

sleep well, canuk...

7:42 PM  
Anonymous WhattheH said...

Durrati, thanks for confirming my initial impression. It's unfortunate that there is no further information, but so be it. The poem stands on it's own and is beautiful.
Canuk - Beer and wings without my august company? Tch, Tch, shame. What kind of beer? I haven't had one in months, and am living vicariously through your experience, so spill the beans.
Believe it or not, I saw Celine in Hamilton, many years ago, before the dreaded Rasputin had fully cemented his control. She was full of vitality and oh so talented. Today, she is a caricature, a corporate product, and hence an embarrassment to most Canadians. At one point, I thought she would take up the mantle of Ginette Reno, Francoise Hardy - maybe even go the Piaf route, but alas, that was not to be. Now she's wealthy beyond comprehension, but her art is dead. Truly, how much money is enough?

8:11 PM  
Anonymous WhattheH said...

Durrati, you're driving me nuts. I give up - the painting - it looks like a Van Gogh, but it's one with which I'm not familiar. What is it, and who painted it?

8:32 PM  
Blogger Sgt Marks-a-lot said...

whattheh - Thanks, my questions exactly about poem and painting.

Durrati - For God's sake make it clear to us!

Digging in,

Sgt. Mark-a-lot

9:05 PM  
Blogger KidKawartha said...

My brother called and told me to meet him at McThirsty's downtown to catch the last two periods of the Leafs game. I downed the first two pints of STELLA ARTOIS in about 20 minutes, I forgot how good it is. Then brother showed up, and I made the mistake of ordering hot wings instead of medium in a place where I haven't had wings yet. HOTTEST HOT WINGS EVER. Anyhooo, I had to put down 2 pints of ice water along with 2 more pints of Stella, and seeing as how I'm a little out of practice of the greatest Canadian pasttime, I was pretty much doing the weave and sway over the bridge to home. I hope the grass in the park near my house appreciates the liquid fertilizer, though. So I laid down for a while until the stupid room stopped spinning, and I'm writing before I crash for the night. Don't worry about when you're coming down here, I was just hasslin' ya. Anytime is fine, I'm getting practiced with the pints now. ;)
Love the Rasputin comment, but I think she's smarter than her song-writing paints her out to be. Just like that blonde with that 90-year old guy down in Texas, can't remember her name. She knows what she's doing. What's a girl's best friend again?

9:56 PM  
Blogger durrati said...

Marks-O-LOT and What...

O.K, O.K., I dug around some....

I believe the poem was written in eulogy for his friend Ignacio Sánchez Mejías a famous toredor who died of gangrene after being injured in the ring in 1934. Mejias had a passion for theater and gypsy music, both of which, of course Lorca shared.

An interesting story I found about him going to see the famous gypsy singer Manuel Torre....

"Midnight. We just came into the place. Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, a couple of French friends of his, Manuel Torre, another singer and a dancer and guitarist. We were going to listen to the famous gypsy Manuel Torre. Ignacio, a great admirer of his, had been building up his art all throughout the dinner: "It's something which shakes you to the core. It's unique. You hear one of his seguiriyas and you don't care about dying any more. You can find no beauty to equal that of the cante of Manuel Torre". Said individual sat in the corner and began to drink wine in silence, as if he were not present. The other singer sang. The dancer danced. Manuel Torre neither watched the dancing nor listened to the singing. Ignacio fills us in: "You just have to leave him alone. He's a pure gypsy". Three o'clock in the morning. By that point Manuel Torre had drunk some thirty glasses of aguardiente. And he started... to sing? No. To speak. Until five o'clock in the morning he went on and on about greyhounds. The Frenchmen fell asleep, drunk as lords. Daylight began to enter into the room. In a low voice I asked Sánchez Mejías: "Do you think he's going to sing?" Sorrowfully he answered: "I'm afraid not. When he gets started on the greyhounds he might not sing until two in the afternoon". I was horrified. "Don't tell me we're going to be here until two o'clock in the afternoon". Without skipping a beat Ignacio replied "Oh, of course! You have no idea of what a seguiriya is sung by this man!" Well I did know, at exactly nine thirty that morning. Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, that macho man, cried. I had goosebumps. My nerve endings were traveled by the most intense emotion. Many years have passed since then. Nothing has ever produced such a degree of profound emotion as Manuel Torre' seguiriyas.

A link for more of his bio:,GGLG:2006-08,GGLG:en

The painting is indeed Van Gogh, "Olive Orchard" painted in Saint-Remy in 1889.

5:15 AM  
Blogger durrati said...


In yer drunken stupor you've managed to insult the always pure and uncalculating motives of the fair sex, we expect you're aplogy forthwith... ;)

5:21 AM  
Blogger durrati said...

your apology, sorry..

5:21 AM  
Blogger KidKawartha said...

I think the possibility of truly excessive amounts of money exposes everyone for who they truly are, male or female. It's an almost impossible to resist form of seduction- instant power, comfort, all doors opening, and the slow death of your spirit, moment by moment, until there is nothing left of your humanity.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous WhattheH said...

Kid, it is rather strange that the richer one becomes, the more removed from real people and their problems. Wealth seems to be a disease. One get's wealthy, wants more wealth and does everything in one's power to ensure that no one else has the same opportunities to amass wealth. I must commend Bill Gates on all his charitable contributions, but he gained his wealth by ensuring that other entrepreneurs were not able to compete with his less than satisfactory product. Venal is the word I'm looking for, I think. Glad to hear you are practicing for our encounter at McThirsty's. Just remember you need to take care of yourself, you silly man.
Durrati, aha, I knew it was a eulogy, and I felt the painting was Van Gogh. Strange, I was at the world wide tour of his paintings back in the 70's and for the life of me, I cannot remember this one. Guess I has stars in my eyes from Starry Night, and of course, Sunflowers and Potato Eaters, copies of which hang on my walls. Thanks for clearing up that little mystery, and just a general thanks for a very interesting blog.

4:48 PM  
Blogger durrati said...


Perhaps it is a matter of his being so prolific, if you Google "Olive Orchard" and Van Gogh, you will see at least four different paintings...As I young man I was lucky enough to view his works in Chicago, Paris and his home Musuem in Amsterdam....I still have stars in my eyes... :)

4:56 PM  

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