Translated by Martin Shaw and Stephan Harding

FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA (1898-1936) is regarded as one of the great poets of the twentieth century, and a difficult task to translate from Spanish to English. His essential darkness, passion and sensitivity to magic have sometimes been hard to capture in linguistic migration. But these translations from Martin Shaw and Stephan Harding successfully carry an unruly cast of Lorca’s duende spirits into the sometimes restrained northern tones of the English language.

From Ghazal of an Unexpected Love

No one could comprehend
the perfume of the
dark magnolia of your belly.
No one knew you martyred
love’s hummingbird amongst
your teeth.

A thousand little Persian horses slept
on the moonlit square of your brow,
whilst I, for four nights bound tight
your waist, great enemy of the snow.