Home > Uncategorized > Federico García Lorca: War goes crying with a million gray rats

Federico García Lorca: War goes crying with a million gray rats

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Federico García Lorca
From Ode to Walt Whitman
Translated by Rick Rozoff

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Agony, agony, dream, ferment and dream.
This is the world, friend, agony, agony.
The dead decompose under the clock of the cities,
war goes crying with a million gray rats,
the rich give to their mistresses
small illuminated dying things,
and life is not noble, nor good, nor sacred.

*****

Agonía, agonía, sueño, fermento y sueño.
Éste es el mundo, amigo, agonía, agonía.
Los muertos se descomponen bajo el reloj de las ciudades,
la guerra pasa llorando con un millón de ratas grises,
los ricos dan a sus queridas
pequeños moribundos iluminados,
y la vida no es noble, ni buena, ni sagrada.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. December 11, 2011 at 1:02 am

    Great translation!

    • richardrozoff
      December 11, 2011 at 4:29 am

      Thank you. The word moribundos is very difficult to translate/render into English.
      In the 1930s the English poet Stephen Spender just literally translated it as moribunds, but it didn’t seem right to me.
      But with so much of Lorca’s verse, there is no way to translate, explain or paraphrase it – perhaps the genuine hallmark of real poetry.

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