Little Infinite Poem (by Federico Garcia Lorca)

Posted: December 31, 2007 in creativity
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Little Infinite Poem

For Luis Cardoza y Aragon

To take the wrong road
is to arrive at the snow,
and to arrive at the snow
is to get down on all fours for twenty centuries and eat the
grasses of the cemeteries.

To take the wrong road
is to arrive at woman,
woman who isn’t afraid of light,
woman who murders two roosters in one second,
light which isn’t afraid of roosters,
and roosters who don’t know how to sing on top of the
snow.

But if the snow truly takes the wrong road,
then it might meet the southern wind,
and since the air cares nothing for groans,
we will have to get down on all fours again and eat the
grasses of the cemeteries.

I saw two mournful wheatheads made of wax
burying a countryside of volcanoes;
and I saw two insane little boys who wept as they leaned on
a murderer’s eyeballs.

But two has never been a number –
because it’s only an anguish and its shadow,
it’s only a guitar where love feels how hopeless it is,
it’s the proof of someone else’s infinity,
and the walls around a dead man,
and the scourging of a new resurrection that will never end.
Dead people hate the number two,
but the number two makes women drop off to sleep,
and since women are afraid of light,
light shudders when it has to face the roosters,
and since all roosters know is how to fly over the snow
we will have to get down on all fours and eat the grasses of
the cemeteries forever.


While Little Infinite Poem seems to be part of Lorca’s more
experimental work, it also seems to carry a signature typical
for most of his work, the idea that became the cornerstone
of his philosophy on art and his view of the Spanish tradition:
‘Duende’. According to The Cortland Review, Little Infinite Poem is
drenched in Duende, which Lorca defines by borrowing Goethe’s
allusion to the ‘mysterious power which everyone senses and
no philosopher explains’. The Duende for Lorca is a force that
is irrational and intuitive; spiritually connected to the earth
and pantheistic; and – quintessentially Spanish – aware of death.
‘All that has black sounds has Duende,’ wrote Andalusian cantaor
Manuel Torre, and Lorca seems to agree. And for him the Duende’s
obsessions with death and so forth bring forth the artist’s
creativity, make it a unique force animating the latter. So indeed:
Little Infinite Poem is drenched in Duende.
 

[the image above is a portrait of Garcia Lorca by Salvatore Dali]

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