Poet in New York
In my copy of Lorca’s Poet in New York –
I was on the terrace, wrestling with the moon.
Swarms of windows riddled one of the night’s thighs.
Placid sky-cattle drank from my eyes
and the breezes on long oars
struck the ashen store windows on Broadway.
– there is a translation, by Christopher Maurer, of a lecture which the poet gave in Madrid, and then repeated in other Spanish cities and in Argentina and Uruguay. The lecture opens like this:
Whenever I speak before a large group I always think I must have opened the wrong door. Some friendly hands have given me a shove, and here I am. Half of us wander around completely lost amid drop curtains, painted trees, and tin fountains, and just when we think we have found our room, or our circle of lukewarm sun, we meet an alligator who swallows us alive or . . . an audience, as I have. And today the only show I can offer you is some bitter, living poetry. Perhaps I can lash its eyes open for you.