- Birthday, Books, Quotes, Reading, Writing

Federico García Lorca on Love, Mystery, Poetry, and More


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….”


“I want to be a poet, from head to toe, living and dying by poetry.”


“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.”


“My poetry is a game. My life is a game. But I am not a game.”


“The poem, the song, the picture
Is only water
Drawn from the well of the people
And it should be given back to them in a cup of beauty
So that they may drink
And in drinking understand themselves.”


“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.”


“Understand one single day fully, so you can love every night.”


“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.”


“I know there is no straight road, no straight road in this world. Only a giant labyrinth of intersecting crossroads.”


“Every step we take on earth
brings us to a new world.
Every foot supported
on a floating bridge.”


“The important thing in life is to let the years carry us along.”


“In each thing there is an insinuation of death. Stillness, silence, serenity are all apprenticeships.”


“What matters most has an ultimate metallic quality of death. The chasuble and the wagon wheel, the razor and the prickly beards of shepherds, the bare moon, a fly, humid cupboards, rubble piles, the images of saints covered in lace, quicklime, and the wounding edges of the rooflines and watchtowers.”


“Everyone understands the pain that accompanies death, but genuine pain doesn’t live in the spirit, nor in the air, nor in our lives, nor on these terraces of billowing smoke. The genuine pain that keeps everything awake is a tiny, infinite burn on the innocent eyes of other systems.”


“In each thing there is an insinuation of death. Stillness, silence, serenity are all apprenticeships.”


“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.”


“I have often lost myself in the sea, ears full of newly cut flowers, tongue full of love and agony.”


“I’m hurt, hurt and humiliated beyond endurance, seeing the wheat ripening, the fountains never ceasing to give water, the sheep bearing hundreds of lambs, the she-dogs, until it seems the whole country rises to show me its tender sleeping young while I feel two hammer-blows here instead of the mouth of my child.”


“But I am no more I,
nor is my house now my house.”


“At the heart of all great art is an essential melancholy.”


“Today in my heart a vague trembling of stars and all roses are as white as my pain.”


“The two elements the traveler first captures in the big city are extrahuman architecture and furious rhythm. Geometry and anguish.”


“There is nothing more poetic and terrible than the skyscrapers’ battle with the heavens that cover them. Snow, rain, and mist highlight, drench, or conceal the vast towers, but those towers, hostile to mystery and blind to any sort of play, shear off the rain’s tresses and shine their three thousand swords through the soft swan of the fog.”


“The light is buried under chains and noises in impudent challenge of rootless science. Through the suburbs sleepless people stagger, as though just delivered from a shipwreck of blood.”


“But hurry, let’s entwine ourselves as one, our mouth broken, our soul bitten by love, so time discovers us safely destroyed.”


“What’s the furthest corner? Because that’s where I want to be, alone with the only thing that I love.”


“I’ll always be happy if they’d leave me alone in that delightful and unknown furthest corner, apart from struggles, putrefactions and nonsense; the ultimate corner of sugar and toast, where the mermaids catch the branches of the willows and the heart opens to a flute’s sharpness.”


“The one thing life has taught me is that most people spend their lives bottled up inside their houses doing the things they hate.”


“Damned, damned be the rich! May not even their fingernails be left!… I’m sure that they are going to Hell head-first.”


“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.”


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