|Federico García Lorca.
H ow it be dared to emphasize a name of this immense jungle of our deads! As the Andalusia humble cultivators, murdered by their immemorial enemies, as the Asturias mining deads, and the carpenters, the bricklayers, the wage earners of the city and the country, as each one of the thousands of murdered women and shattered children, each one of these ardent shades has right to appear before you as witnesses of the great unhappy country, and has site, I believe, in your hearts, if you are cleaned of injustice and of wickedness. All these terrible shades have name in the memory, fire and loyalty names, pure names, current, ancient and noble as the man of the salt and the water. As salt and water have been lost again in the land, in the infinite name of the land. Because the sacrifices, pains, purity and force of the people of Spain are located in this purifier struggle more than in no other struggle with a flatness and wheats and stones panorama, in the middle of the winter, with a rough planet fund disputed by snow and blood.
Yes, how it be dared to choose a man, one alone, among so many silent? But it's the name that I am going to pronounce between you has behind its obscure syllables such a fatal wealth, it's so heavy and so crossed of meanings, that when it's pronounced are pronounced the names of all those who fell defending the same report of his songs, because he was the brave advocate of Spain's heart. Federico García Lorca! He was popular as a guitar, happy, somber, deep and clear as a child, as the people. If it might has been sought with difficulty, step by step all over the corners whom to sacrifice, as it's sacrificed a symbol, it might have been not found the popular Spanish, in speed and depth, in nobody neither in nothing as in this chosen being. They have chosen well who when executing him have wanted to shot the heart of his race. They have chosen to bend and martyr Spain, to exhaust it in its more rapid perfume, to break it in its more vehement breath, to cut its more indestructible laugh. The two more irreconcilable Spains have been experimented before this death: the green and grisly devilish hoof's black Spain, the underground and damned Spain, the large dynastic and ecclesiastic crimes crucifer and poisonous Spain, and in front of it the vital pride radiant and of the spirit Spain, the intuition meteoric, of the continuation and the discovery Spain, the Federico García Lorca's Spain.
He could be death, offered as a lily, as a wild guitar, under the land that his murderous threw with the feet above his injuries, but his race defends itself as his songs, standing and singing, while leaving from his soul blood whirlwinds, and thus they will be for ever in the memory of the men.
I don't know how to specify his memory. The violent light of the life illuminated just a moment his now injured and turned off face. But in that long minute of his life his figure glittered of sunlight. As well as since Góngora and Lope days it had not appear again in Spain so much creative élan, so much way and language mobility, since those days in which the Spaniards of the people kissed the Lope de Vega's habit it has not been known in Spanish language a so immense popular seduction directed to a poet. All what he touched, yet in the mysterious aestheticism scales, to which as a great literate poet he could not give up without betray himself, all what he touched filled with deep sound essences that arrived at the multitudes fund. When I have mentioned the word aestheticism, we don't choose wrongly: García Lorca was the anti-aesthete, in this feeling of filling his poetry and his human dramas theatre and hear tempests, but not therefore resigns to the original secrets of the poetical mystery. The people, with wonderful intuition, empowers his poetry, that is already sung and were sung in Andalusia, but he didn't flatter in him this trend to be benefitted, far from that: he sought with avidity inside and outside him.
His aestheticism is perhaps the origin of his huge popularity in America. Of this brilliant generation of poets as Alberti, Aleixandre, Altolaguirre, Cernuda, etc., he was perhaps the only one over whom Góngora's shade didn't exercise the ice dominance that the year 1927 sterilized aesthetically the great Spain's young poetry. America, separated by centuries of ocean from the classic parents of the language, recognized as great this young poet irresistibly attracted toward people and blood. I have seen in Buenos Aires, three years ago, the larger height a poet of our race may have received, the large multitudes listened with emotion and weeping his astounding verbal opulence tragedies. It renovated on it taking new phosphoric brilliancy the eternal Spanish drama, love and death masked or nude.
His memory, trace his photograph at this distance, it's impossible. He was a physical lightning, a continuous rapidity energy, a happiness, a radiance, a thoroughly superhuman tenderness. His person was magic and swarthy, he attracted happiness.
By curious and insistent coincidence, the two great renown youth poets in Spain, Albert and García Lorca, they have been seemed much, until the rivalry.
Both dionysusian Andalusians, musicals,luxuriants, secrets and populars, exhausted at the same time the origins of the Spanish poetry, the millenium folklore of Andalusia and Castille, carrying gradually their poetics from the air and vegetable grace of the beginning of the language until the overcoming of the grace and the entry in his race dramatic jungle. Then they separate; while one, Alberti is delivery with total generosity to the cause of the oppressed and he only lives in view of his magnificent revolutionary faith, the other one returns more and more into his literature toward his land, toward Grenada, until returning completely, until dying in it. Between them it didn't exist a real rivalry, they were good and brilliant brothers, and thus we see that in the last Alberti's return from Russia and Mexico, in the great homage that in his honor took place in Madrid, Federico offered him, in the name of everybody, that meeting with magnificent words. Few months after García Lorca departed to Grenada. And there, by strange fatality, was waiting him the death, the death that reserved to Alberti the enemies of the people. Without forgetting our great dead poet, we recall a second to our great live comrade, Alberti, who with a group of poets as Serrano Plaja, Miguel Hernández, Emilio Prados, Antonio Aparicio, are in this instant in Madrid defending the cause of their people and their poetry.
But the social anxiety in Federico took other forms closer to his Moorish troubadour soul. In his troupe The Hut traveled the roads of Spain representing the old and large forgotten theatre: Lope de Rueda, Lope de Vega, Cervantes. The ancient romance dramatized were returned by him to the pure bosom from they came out. The remotest corners of Castille knew, his representations. For him the Andalusian, the Asturians, the extremeños returned to be communicated with their genial poets hardly recently slept in their hearts, since the spectacle fulled them of amazement without surprise. Neither the ancient suits, nor the archaic language annoyed to those peasants that many times had not seen a car neither listened a gramophone. By the middle of the tremendous, fantastic poverty of the Spanish peasant that yet I, I have seen living in caverns and feeding of weeds and reptiles, happened this magic poetry whirlwind carrying between the dreams of the old poets the gunpowder grains and dissatisfaction of the culture.
He always saw in those agonizing regions the incredible misery in which the privilegeds maintained their people, suffered with the peasants the winter in the meadows and in the dry hills, and the tragedy made to quiver with many pains his southern heart.
I remember now of one of his reminisces. Some months ago he left again by the villages. He was going to represent Peribáñez, of Lope de Vega, and Federico came out to travel the Estremadura corners to find in them the suits, the real century XVII suits that the old peasant families still keep in their arks. He returned with a prodigious shipment of blue and gilded fabrics, shoes and necklaces, apparel that for the first time saw the light since centuries. His irresistible friendliness obtained everything.
A night in an Estremadura village, not be able to sleep, lifted apparently in the morning. He was still full of fog the hard Estremaduran landscape. Federico sat to watch grow the sun near some demolished statues. They were marble figures of the century XVII and the place was the entry of a feudal dominion, entirely abandoned, as so many possessions of the great Spanish sirs. Federico watched the ruined torsos, lightened in whiteness by the emerging sun, when a little lamb misled from its herd began to graze near him. Suddenly five or seven black porks that crossed the road pulled on the lamb and in some minutes, before his fright and his surprise, they tore it and devoured it. Federico, prey of a unspeakable, tied-up of horror, was watching the black porks kill and devour the lamb between the fallen statue, in that solitary dawn.
When he told it to me after returning to Madrid his voice was still quivering because the tragedy of the death obsessed his child sensibility until delirium. Now his death, his terrible death that nothing will make us forget it, brings to me the recollection of that bloody dawn. Perhaps to that great poet, sweet and prophetic, the life offered him in advance, and in terrible symbol, the vision of his own death.
I have wanted to bring up before you the memories of our great dissapeared comrade. Many maybe waited from me quiet poetics words estranged of the land of the war. The same word Spain brings to a lot of people an immense distress mixed with a serious hope. I have not desired to increase these distresses neither to disturb your hopes, but recently departed of Spain, me, Latin American, Spanish of race and of language, would not have been able to speak but of your misfortunes. I am not political neither I have ever taken part in the political contest, and my words, that many would have wished neutral, they have been dyed of passion. Understand me and understand that we, the Spanish America poets and the poets of Spain, we will not forget ever neither forgive it the assassination of who we consider the greatest between us, the angel of this moment of our language. And forgive me that of all the pains of Spain I recall you only the life and the death of a poet. It's just that we will not be able ever to forget this crime, neither to forgive it. We won't forget it neither we will forgive it ever. Never.
Conference pronounced in Paris, 1937.
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