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.
Copyright © 2005 by Federico García Lorca and Lysander Kemp. From The Selected Poems. Reprinted with permission of New Directions Press.