Federico Garcia Lorca’s Birthday is Today

Federico Garcia Lorca

Federico García Lorca is one of my favorite poets. I even followed his ghost to his city, Granada, Spain. There, I lived with my wife and a guitarist friend, in a cave in the Gypsy part of town Lorca visited so often while he lived, the Sacromonte.

On the occasion of his birthday, here is my translation of his poem, “La Guitarra,” which was used by Yale Prof. María Rosa Menocal in her lecture and monograph, “Poetry As An Act of History.” (She is also the author of the extraordinary book, “The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Christians, and Jews Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain,” which I recommend without reservation.)

The photograph above came from a post in The Volunteer, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade website, on new evidence as to the possible location of Lorca’s murdered body. He was murdered by fascist thugs during the Spanish Civil War.

The Guitar
By Federico García Lorca (La guitarr)
Trans. Curt Hopkins

The cry of the guitar
The glasses of dawn
Are shattered.
It is useless
To quiet it.
To shut it up.
It weeps monotonously
As water weeps,
As wind weeps
In a snow storm.
It is impossible
To stop it.
It cries for far away
Sand of the hot south
That begs for white camellias.
It weeps, arrow without a target,
Evening without a morning,
And the first bird
Dead upon the branch.
Oh, guitar!
Heart gravely wounded
By five swords.


  1. David says:

    Lovely article. Thanks for remember this spanish poet.

    Here you can listen a EP where “La Argentinita” is singing and Lorca is on the piano.

  2. Curt says:

    I’ll check it out. Thanks.

  3. Curt says:

    Reviewing my comments – terrible at this – and discovered it’s Spotify. For some reason Spotify has got it out to me and I’ve never successfully registered. If you know where else this might be would you let me know?

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s