Happy birthday, Federico García Lorca! Here are some quotes from his writing:
“Only mystery allows us to live, only mystery.”
“My head is full of fire and grief and my tongue runs wild, pierced with shards of glass.”
“I want to sleep for half a second,
a second, a minute, a century,
but I want everyone to know that I’m still alive….”
“A poet must be a Professor of the five bodily senses. To command the most perfect images, he must open doors of communication between all of the senses.”
“I will always be on the side of those who have nothing and who are not even allowed to enjoy the nothing they have in peace.”
“The artist, and particularly the poet, is always an anarchist in the best sense of the word. He must heed only the call that arises within him from three strong voices: the voice of death, with all its foreboding, the voice of love, and the voice of art.”
“As I have not worried to be born, I do not worry to die.”
“I’ve often lost myself, in order to find the burn that keeps everything awake.”
“Love is the kiss in the quiet nest while the leaves are trembling, mirrored in the water.”
“To see you naked is to recall the Earth.”
“To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves….When things get that deep inside you there isn’t anybody who can change them.”
“I am afraid of being, on this shore,
a branchless trunk, and what I most regret
is having no flower, pulp, or clay
for the worm of my despair.”
“I am the immense shadow of my tears.”
“At the heart of all great art is an essential melancholy.”
“The two elements the traveler first captures in the big city are extrahuman architecture and furious rhythm. Geometry and anguish.”
“The day that hunger is eradicated from the earth there will be the greatest spiritual explosion the world has ever known. Humanity cannot imagine the joy that will burst into the world on the day of that great revolution.”
“Nobody knows you. No. But I sing of you.
For posterity I sing of your profile and grace.
Of the signal maturity of your understanding.
Of your appetite for death and the taste of its mouth.
Of the sadness of your once valiant gaiety.”
“A light which lives on what the flames devour,
a grey landscape surrounding me with scorch,
a crucifixion by a single wound,
a sky and earth that darken by each hour,
a sob of blood whose red ribbon adorns
a lyre without a pulse, and oils the torch,
a tide which stuns and strands me on the reef,
a scorpion scrambling, stinging in my chest–
this is the wreath of love, this bed of thorns
is where I dream of you stealing my rest,
haunting these sunken ribs cargoed with grief.
I sought the peak of prudence, but I found
the hemlock-brimming valley of your heart,
and my own thirst for bitter truth and art.”
“The night above. We two. Full moon.
I started to weep, you laughed.
Your scorn was a god, my laments
moments and doves in a chain.
The night below. We two. Crystal of pain.
You wept over great distances.
My ache was a clutch of agonies
over your sickly heart of sand.
Dawn married us on the bed,
our mouths to the frozen spout
of unstaunched blood.
The sun came through the shuttered balcony
and the coral of life opened its branches
over my shrouded heart.”
John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.