Martyn Crucefix translates Federico Garcia Lorca

 

 

 

Tamar and Amnon
for Alfonso García Valdecasas

Moon wheeling across the sky,
no water on the plain,
hot summer now scattering seeds,
talk is of tiger and flame.
And miles above the roof beams,
nerves of metal squeal,
a twisted breeze comes blowing in
with the bleat of wool.
And spread-eagled, the earth shows
its barely-healed hurt,
or it shivers in incandescent white
of cauterising heat.

*

In her dreams, Tamar was lost,
birds in her throat,
with the swish of cool tambourines,
a moonlit lyre stroked.
Up in the eaves, her nakedness,
North the palm grove,
she wishes for snow on her belly,
on her back, hailstones.
How Tamar loves to sing her songs,
stark-naked to the roofs,
while scattered around her feet
are five chilly doves.
Amnon is slim and definite
in his tower, gazing,
brimming, full, his frothy groin,
his beard swaying.
Her nakedness is all lit up
on the terrace below.
The whispering between his teeth,
an arrow striking home.
And now Amnon shifts his gaze
towards the rising moon,
but finds his sisters’ firm breasts
only obscure the moon.

*

It’s half-past three and Amnon lies
sprawled upon his bed.
The whole room is an agony,
wings crowd his head.
In its grave of dirt-brown sand,
a dull light inters
villages or unearths the brief
pink of rose and dahlias.
First-pressed lymph of silence,
dripping into urns.
On moss-covered trunks of trees,
a hanging cobra croons.
Amnon groans deep in the cool
linens of his bed.
The crawling ivies of his chills
obscure his burning blood.
In silence, Tamar tip-toes in
to the noiseless room,
the colouring of vein and Danube
distantly traced and dim.
—Tamar, my eyes, erase them,
in your certain dawn.
Threads of my blood have hitched
ruches in your gown.
—Leave me, brother, leave alone.
Your kisses on my neck
are like a twinned swarm of flutes,
a wasp and wind attack.
—Tamar, in your swelling breasts,
two fishes bid me rouse
and your every single finger-tip
speaks of locked-in rose.

*

In the courtyard, the hundred horses
of King David neighed.
Against the wispy vines, in slabs,
still the sun remained.
Already he’s ripped her dress,
her hair in his grip.
In streams, a warm coral’s daubed
over a pale map.

*

O what commotion then was heard
from the upper floor!
What a thicket of blades they found
and her clothes torn.
Slaves, on the dismal staircase,
hurrying up and down
as if they played, thighs and pistons
under stilled clouds.
Beside Tamar, the gypsy virgins
set up such a howl,
while others gathered up the drops
of her martyred flower.
The pure white cloths turning red
in the shuttered room.
Rumours of shifts in vine and fish
and then tepid dawn.

*

The frenzied violator, Amnon,
flees on his horse
with black bow-men loosing arrows
from watch-towers and walls.
And when four hoofs were echoes,
nothing more to hear,
King David took a pair of shears
to the strings of his lyre.
 

Martyn Crucefix’s most recent publications are The Lovely Disciplines (Seren, 2017) and two chapbooks: O. at the Edge of the Gorge (Guillemot Press, 2017) and A Convoy (If a Leaf Falls Press, 2017). He has also translated the poetry of Rilke and more recently the Daodejing – a new version in English (Enitharmon, 2016). Cargo of Limbs will be published by Hercules Editions in 2019. He blogs regularly on many aspects of poetry, translation and teaching: http://www.martyncrucefix.com

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