“Duende” – After Lorca

Yo canto su elegancia con palabras que gimen
y recuerdo una Brisa triste por los olvies.
– from Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias, Federico Garcia Lorca

“I sing of his elegance with words that groan,”
“and I remember a sad breeze through the olive trees.”
– translation, Stephen Spender

The Song of the Deep

The deep song of primordial time, the sorrow,
the cathedral of beginnings, the lover’s glance
the gypsy’s fatal knife, the hero’s night of nights;

a slow drum beat, the lava underneath;
these are the songs of earth, black earth
that teach of death and love, of hate,

of wonder at the flesh, the touch
when lover’s cross at night, the sun
that offers its harsh light, the copper

meshed within the orb of time, the birth
of cries and mother’s tears, the age
of time’s slow daze against the spheres:

a stammer, a waver, an undulating howl,
the sea’s foam, the falling fountains of the sky;
broken timber in the forest, the crackle

of the fire that scatters ancient seeds, the trill
of falcon call as blackbirds scatter, the blood moon,
the rooster’s horn segmenting day from night;

a road begins and ends at dawn, a rusty arrow,
a dead bird that sits undying, a jackdaw’s screech
gathering the future before it, the raging:

the song of the abyss, a people,
a green veldt tree, a mountain,
the drift of stars, the rush of waves upon the shore,

the walkers between who shatter everything;
the city dwellers, the rotting cellars,
the ancient crimson roots, the twisted shoots,

the rising from the sunken asphalt, the reclaiming,
the lonely hill, the forgotten myth, the ancient story of the twins,
the world below the waves, the white stone caves, unraveling:

the breath of the Andalusian guitarist,
the tremolando of his chords –
a scream that is deeper than black;

an abyss become deep song in an Old Man’s hands.

– Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.

19 thoughts on ““Duende” – After Lorca

  1. Steven, this was a marvelous, rich and deeply moving piece of poetry. Your command of timing and imagery is superb. The best thing I can say is I wish I’d written it. Smiles >KB


    • thank you so much…

      I wish at times I could understand it too…

      but, yes, it comes from somewhere in that deep song… I sometimes myself wonder at the powers that avail themselves of this limited mind, a strangeness that is, that lives in us all, below us, the earth singing in us….


    • thank, you, Zara… as I said above, its like the player and the played, the guitar becomes the song… and, we are that song while it lasts…

      As Lorca himself would say, one learns one’s trade, the craft, then one readies oneself for the Duende to come like a deep wind in a cavern… and flows …


  2. Simply amazing. This sounds like something I might write if I took the time and really let my mind go loose. How long do you think this took you to write? What was your inspiration? What does the title mean?


    • You know that is a difficult question, but I’ll try… of course I’ve probably been rehearsing this specific poem for years without ever having written a word… as Emerson said of Whitman once: “This must have had a long foreground…”

      The poem itself took a matter of minutes to write… I happened on another poet Frausto reading a poem on his Up! Urban: Poet.tree site… but of course this was as Richard Hugo would have termed it “the triggering town” the moment that everything coalesces and the spring from the fountains of the fates opens and releases it dark waters of creativity into dream and time…

      The title is from Federico Garcia Lorca’s work “In Search of Duende” and the meaning of the title is this poem… I think the one way that is best to express the title’s meaning: the song of the depths, the deep songs… this was Lorca’s phrasing: “Deep Song”!

      i’m so glad you enjoyed it… !


  3. I truly appreciate the honor you bestow, by the depth of your descriptive narration, the lifetime of a fellow guitarist. Excellent!


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