POETRY: The Martyrdom Of Saint Eulalia, by Federico García Lorca

(Translated from the Spanish by A. L. Lloyd.)

1. Panorama of Merida

In the street, a long-tailed horse
is galloping, rearing,
while the old soldiers of Rome
are dicing or sleeping.
Half a mountain of Minervas
opens its leafless arms.
The hanging water is gilding
the ledges of the rocks.
A night of reclining torsos
and of stars with broken muzzles
waits for crevices of dawn
into which it may tumble.
From time to time resound
the red-combed blasphemies.
Moaning, the blessed girl
breaks the crystal of the glasses.
The wheel whets the knives
and the sharp-pointed hooks.
The bull of the anvils bellows,
and Merida is crowned
with brambleberry briars
and the wakening spikenard.

II. The Martyrdom

Naked, Flora goes
up the little stairs of water.
For the breasts of Eulalia
the Consul demands a platter.
A jet of green veins
bursts from her throat.
Her sex trembles, disarrayed
like a bird in a thicket.
On the ground, unruly,
her severed hands writhe,
still crossed in a feeble
decapitated prayer.
And through the red holes
where once were her breasts,
tiny skies are now seen
and rivulets of white milk.
A thousand little trees of blood
cover all her back,
and oppose their moist trunks
to the scalpel of the fire.
Yellow centurions, grey-fleshed,
and sleepless in their harness,
reach the sky, clashing
the silver of their armor.
And as a passion of manes and swords
is shaking in confusion,
the Consul bears on a platter
the smoky breasts of Eulalia.

III. Hell and Glory

Here lies the undulating snow.
Eulalia hangs from the tree.
The frozen air is blackened
by her charcoal nudity.
The longdrawn night is glittering.
Eulalia dead upon the tree.
The inkwells of the cities
spill their ink slowly.
Tailors’ dummies in black
cover the snow of the fields,
in long files bemoaning
its mutilated silences.
The broken snow is falling.
Eulalia white upon the tree.
In her side, triangles
of nickel are joining their angles.

Across the burnt-out skies
there blazes a monstrance
between throats of rivulets
and branches of nightingales.
Stained-glass springs up!
Eulalia white on a white field.
Angels and seraphim are crying:
Holy. Holy. Holy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: