My friend Nimesh shared The wonderful poetry of the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) which is marked by brilliance, originality. Please also care to read poems meaningful & penetrating interpretation by our literary mentor Max Babi also being appended
Among black butterflies
Goes a Moorish girl
beside a white serpent
Earth of light,
sky of earth.
She goes chained to the tremor
of a rhythm that never settles;
she has a heart of silver
she handles a dagger in her hand.
Where are you going, Siguiriya,
with that headless rythm?
What moon will gather up
your pain of lime and oleander?
Earth of light
sky of earth
By Federico Garcia Lorca
Translated by Gilles de Seze
Notes By Max:
As this is a magic realism poem and a mystic one, we are facing a double trouble, of penetrating the meaning. Obviously the topic is a sort of cross cultural comment, a Spanish man looking at a young Arab-Spanish girl prancing to an unfamiliar that does not seem to have regular breaks (you have to listen to Arabian music to appreciate this -unlike popular Spanish music, it may not have clear cut easily countable beats…it may go on an on…
A heart of silver may imply several things : an unaffected, sturdy heart unlike ours made of flesh, it may even hint at a love for money or power, being an alien girl. A dagger in her hand is a symbol of self-protection, self-worth and even self-love. She nor her body language may permit aliens to go too close to her.
But she is dancing to the tune of a Spanish Siguiriya, hence the poet enquires philosophically where the song is leading the young girl to? Away from her own highly suppressed culture into the passionate unbridled ways of the Spanish, or somewhere else?
Lime and oleander are symbolic too. When you grow a lime tree you are enamoured of the future, when the fruit will grow and ripen, but the risk of thorns cannot be ruled out. This is metaphorically the young girl, attractive but dangerous. Oleander (karain) is a pink coloured very attractive flower that has no smell and there is a popular myth saying you will have bleeding nostrils if you smell it.
Thus the ‘pain of lime and oleander’ is a very poetic way of describing the poet’s secret fascination that must remained checked in for his own good. The reference to the moon is because of implied romantic leanings, males often to berserk in the moonlight on seeing an exotic girl, and a hint of madness is implied too.
The repetition of ‘ earth of light, and sky of earth’ means that the poet is building castles in the air. His mental universe is simply as weightless and massless as if made from light beams, thus just an illusion like a laser beam world. When the earth becomes the sky, it means the poet is looking inwards and searching for meanings. Inward looks imply trying to discover universes within one’s own personality.
Great poem -an amazingly complex set of metaphors