Arbolé, Arbolé . . .

- 1898-1936

(Read the original poem in Spanish)

Tree, tree
dry and green.

The girl with the pretty face
is out picking olives.
The wind, playboy of towers,
grabs her around the waist.
Four riders passed by
on Andalusian ponies,
with blue and green jackets
and big, dark capes.
"Come to Cordoba, muchacha."
The girl won't listen to them.
Three young bullfighters passed,
slender in the waist,
with jackets the color of oranges
and swords of ancient silver.
"Come to Sevilla, muchacha."
The girl won't listen to them.
When the afternoon had turned
dark brown, with scattered light,
a young man passed by, wearing
roses and myrtle of the moon.
"Come to Granada, muchacha."
And the girl won't listen to him.
The girl with the pretty face
keeps on picking olives
with the grey arm of the wind
wrapped around her waist.
Tree, tree
dry and green.


Arbolé, Arbolé...

Arbolé, arbolé,
seco y verdí.

La niña del bello rostro
está cogiendo aceituna.
El viento, galán de torres,
la prende por la cintura.
Pasaron cuatro jinetes
sobre jacas andaluzas,
con trajes de azul y verde,
con largas capas oscuras.
"Vente a Córdoba, muchacha."
La niña no los escucha.
Pasaron tres torerillos
delgaditos de cintura,
con trajes color naranja
y espadas de plata antigua.
"Vente a Sevilla, muchacha."
La niña no los escucha.
Cuando la tarde se puso
morada, con lux difusa,
pasó un joven que llevaba
rosas y mirtos de luna.
"Vente a Granada, muchacha."
Y la niña no lo escucha.
La niña del bello rostro
sigue cogiendo aceituna,
con el brazo gris del viento
ceñido por la cintura.
Arbolé, arbolé.
Seco y verdé.

More by Federico García Lorca

Gacela of the Dark Death

   I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
I want to get far away from the busyness of the cemeteries.
I want to sleep the sleep of that child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.

   I don't want them to tell me again how the corpse keeps all its blood,
how the decaying mouth goes on begging for water.
I'd rather not hear about the torture sessions the grass arranges for
nor about how the moon does all its work before dawn
with its snakelike nose.

   I want to sleep for half a second,
a second, a minute, a century,
but I want everyone to know that I am still alive,
that I have a golden manger inside my lips,
that I am the little friend of the west wind,
that I am the elephantine shadow of my own tears.

   When it's dawn just throw some sort of cloth over me
because I know dawn will toss fistfuls of ants at me,
and pour a little hard water over my shoes
so that the scorpion claws of the dawn will slip off.

   Because I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
and learn a mournful song that will clean all earth away from me,
because I want to live with that shadowy child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.

The Little Mute Boy

The little boy was looking for his voice.
(The king of the crickets had it.)
In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice.

I do not want it for speaking with;
I will make a ring of it
so that he may wear my silence
on his little finger

In a drop of water
the little boy was looking for his voice.

(The captive voice, far away,
put on a cricket's clothes.)

The Old Lizard

In the parched path 
I have seen the good lizard 
(one drop of crocodile) 
meditating. 
With his green frock-coat 
of an abbot of the devil, 
his correct bearing 
and his stiff collar, 
he has the sad air 
of an old professor. 
Those faded eyes 
of a broken artist, 
how they watch the afternoon 
in dismay!

Is this, my friend, 
your twilight constitutional? 
Please use your cane, 
you are very old, Mr. Lizard, 
and the children of the village 
may startle you.
What are you seeking in the path, 
my near-sighted philosopher, 
if the wavering phantasm 
of the parched afternoon 
has broken the horizon? 

Are you seeking the blue alms 
of the moribund heaven? 
A penny of a star? 
Or perhaps 
you've been reading a volume 
of Lamartine, and you relish 
the plateresque trills 
of the birds? 

(You watch the setting sun, 
and your eyes shine, 
oh, dragon of the frogs, 
with a human radiance. 
Ideas, gondolas without oars, 
cross the shadowy 
waters of your 
burnt-out eyes.) 

Have you come looking 
for that lovely lady lizard, 
green as the wheatfields 
of May, 
as the long locks
of sleeping pools, 
who scorned you, and then 
left you in your field? 
Oh, sweet idyll, broken 
among the sweet sedges! 
But, live! What the devil! 
I like you. 
The motto "I oppose 
the serpent" triumphs 
in that grand double chin 
of a Christian archbishop. 

Now the sun has dissolved 
in the cup of the mountains, 
and the flocks 
cloud the roadway. 
It is the hour to depart: 
leave the dry path 
and your meditations. 
You will have time 
to look at the stars 
when the worms are eating you 
at their leisure.


Go home to your house 
by the village, of the crickets! 
Good night, my friend 
Mr. Lizard! 

Now the field is empty, 
the mountains dim, 
the roadway deserted. 
Only, now and again, 
a cuckoo sings in the darkness 
of the poplar trees.