Merryn Williams



The daybreak of New York contains

four columns made of blood

and a hurricane of black doves

that wade in stinking waters.


The daybreak of New York moans

along enormous stairways

and seeks between the ledges

tuberoses, drawn in anguish.


Day breaks, and no one takes it in his mouth,

for there no morning is possible, nor hope.

From time to time, a furious shower of coins

perforates and devours abandoned children.


The first to go out understand in their bones

that there will be no heaven or natural love;

they know they are going to a mire of figures,

laws, games without skill, sweat that leads to nothing.


The light is buried by chains and by noises,

challenged shamelessly by rootless science.

Along the suburbs, sleepless crowds are staggering,

as though fresh from a shipwreck of blood.





When the moon comes out

the bells fade into silence

and impenetrable paths

come to light.


When the moon comes out

the sea floods earth's surface,

the heart feels like an island

in the infinite.


Nobody eats oranges

under the full moon.

You eat only green

and icy fruit.


When the moon comes out,

one hundred identical faces,

the silver coins in your pocket









Did you like the city that water built

drop by drop in the heart of the pine woods?

Did you see visions, faces, roads

and walls of pain for air to beat?


Did you see the blue chink of the broken moon

that Jucar wets with crystal and sweet sounds?

And did the hawthorns kiss your hands

that crown with love the distant stone?


Do you recall me when you mount

the silence which the snake endures,

a prisoner of crickets and of shades?


Didn't you see through the transparent air

a dahlia of gladness and despair

sent to you from my burning heart?





     Federico Garcia Lorca was murdered by Fascist partisans in August 1936.  It is almost as though he foresaw his fate, for he had written earlier:


I realised I had been murdered.

They searched cafes, cemeteries, churches,

They opened barrels and cupboards,

And plundered three skeletons

for their gold teeth.

But they never found me?

No.  They never found me.


      'But', as he wrote in a different poem, 'all should know that I have not died'.

      My English translations of Lorca's Selected Poems have been published by Bloodaxe Books in a bilingual edition.  They include the eleven 'Sonnets of Dark Love' which were thought to have been lost in the Civil War and did not resurface for several years.