Saint Gabriel
    (Seville)

To D. Agustín Viñuales.

              I

A lovely reed-like boy,
wide shoulders, slim waist,
skin of nocturnal apple-trees,
sad mouth and large eyes,
with nerves of hot silver,
walks the empty street.
His shoes of leather
crush the dahlias of air,
in a double-rhythm beating out
quick celestial dirges.
On the margins of the sea
there’s no palm-tree his equal,
no crowned emperor,
no bright wandering star.
When his head bends down
over his breast of jasper,
the night seeks out the plains,
because it needs to kneel.
The guitars sound only
for Saint Gabriel the Archangel,
tamer of pale moths,
and enemy of willows.
‘Saint Gabriel: the child cries
in his mother’s womb.
Don’t forget the gypsies
gifted you your costume’.

              II

Royal Annunciation,
sweetly moonlit and poorly clothed
opens the door to the starlight
that comes along the street.
The Archangel Saint Gabriel
scion of the Giralda tower,
came to pay a visit,
between a lily and a smile.
In his embroidered waistcoat
hidden crickets throbbed.
The stars of the night
turned into bells.
‘Saint Gabriel: Here am I
with three nails of joy.
Your jasmine radiance folds
around my flushed cheeks.
‘God save you, Annunciation.
Dark-haired girl of wonder.
You’ll have a child more beautiful
than the stems of the breeze.’
‘Ah, Saint Gabriel, joy of my eyes!
Little Gabriel my darling!
I dream a chair of carnations
for you to sit on’.
‘God save you, Annunciation,
sweetly moonlit and poorly clothed.
Your child will have on his breast
a mole and three scars’.
‘Ah, Saint Gabriel, how you shine!
Little Gabriel my darling!
In the depths of my breasts
warm milk already wells’.
God save you, Annunciation.
Mother of a hundred houses.
Your eyes shine with arid
landscapes of horsemen’.

        *

In amazed Annunciation’s
womb, the child sings.
Three bunches of green almond
quiver in his little voice.

Now Saint Gabriel climbed
a ladder through the air.
The stars in the night
turned to immortelles’.

autógrafo

Federico García Lorca, 1928
Translation by A. S. Kline


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