Federico García Lorca
Blind Panorama of New York, translated by Pablo Medina and Mark Statman

If it isn’t the birds

covered with ashes,

if it isn’t the cries beating on the windows of the wedding,

it must be the delicate creatures of air

that pour out new blood in the unending night.

But no, it isn’t the birds

because the birds are ready to be oxen;

they can be white rocks with the aid of the moon

and are always wounded youths before

the judges raise the sheet.


Everyone understands the grief that comes with death

but true grief is not present in the spirit.

It isn’t in the air or in our lives

or in these terraces full of smoke.

True grief that keeps things awake

is a small infinite burn

in the innocent eyes of other systems.


An abandoned suit weighs so much on the shoulders

that many times the sky gathers them in rugged herds.

And the women who die in childbirth know in their final hour

that every rumor will be stone and every footprint pulse.

We ignore that thought has outlying boroughs

where philosopher is devoured by Chinamen and caterpillars.

And some idiot children have found in the kitchen

some swallows on crutches

that knew how to say the word love.


No, it isn’t the birds.

It isn’t a bird that expresses the clouded pond-like fever

or the longing for murder that oppresses us each minute

or the metalic suicidal rumor that gives breath to each dawn.

It’s a capsule of air where the whole world hurts us,

it’s a small living space to the crazy unison of light,

it’s an undefinable scale where clouds and roses forget

the Chinese clamor that bustles on the docks of blood.

Many times I’ve lost myself

in order to search for the burn that keeps things awake

and I’ve only found sailors leaning over the railing

and small creatures of the sky buried in the snow.

But real grief was in other plazas

where chrystallized fish agonized inside the tree trunks;

plazas of a strange sky for the ancient untouched statues

and for the tender intimacies of volcanoes.


There’s no grief in my voice. Only my teeth exist,

teeth that go silent in the isolation of black satin.

There’s no grief in my voice. Here only the earth exists,

the earth with the doors of forever

that lead to the shame of fruit.

Found In Volume 36, No. 06
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Federico García Lorca
About the Author

Federico García Lorca (1898 - 1936) is among the most important Spanish poets and dramatists of the twentieth century. Much of García Lorca’s work was infused with popular themes such as Flamenco and Gypsy culture. In 1922, García Lorca organized the first “Cante Jondo” festival in which Spain’s most famous “deep song” singers and guitarists participated. The deep song form permeated his poems of the early 1920s. During this period, García Lorca became part of a group of artists known as Generación del 27, which included Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel. He was murdered at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War by Nationalists. To this day, no one knows where the body of Federico García Lorca rests.