Sleepwalking romance

Green, how I love you green,
Green wind, green branches
The boat on the sea
And the horse in the mountain
With shadows on her waist
She dreams on her balcony
Green flesh, green hair
And cold silver for eyes.
Green, how I love you green
Beneath the gipsy moon
Things are gazing at her
But she cannot look at them.

Green, how I love you green
Great stars of hoar-frost
Come with the fish of shadow
That paves the way for the dawn.
The fig-tree scratches at the wind
With sandpaper for leaves
And the mountain is a lurking cat
Darting its sour peaks.
But who will come, and where?
She still waits on her balcony
Green flesh, green hair
And cold silver for eyes.

My friend, I would exchange
My horse for her bed
My steed for her mirror
My knife for her blankets.
My friend, I come bleeding
From the ports of Cabra.

If I could, my boy,
This would be a bargain sealed!
But I am not me anymore
And my house is not my own.

My friend, I wish to die
Decently in my bed
A steel bed, if I can
With sheets of finest linen.
Can’t you see the wound I bear
From my chest to my throat?

Three hundred brown roses
Bloom on your white shirt
Your blood seeps fragant
All over your jerkin
But I am not me anymore
And my house is not my own.

Let me climb up at least
To the high balconies
Let me, please let me up
To the balconies of green
Those terraces of the moon
Where the water splashes down!

Here go the friends climbing
To the high balconies
Leaving behind a trail of blood
Leaving behind a trail of tears.
On the rooftops there trembled
Little lanterns of tin
A thousand crystal tambourines
Wounded the dawn.

Green, how I love you green,
Green wind, green leaves.
The two friends climbed up
The long wind left in their mouths
A strange taste of bile
Of mint, of basil leaves.

My friend, where is she, tell me
Where is this bitter girl of yours?
How many times she waited for you!
How many more she will wait
Fresh-faced, black-haired
In that balcony of green!

On the top of the cistern
The gipsy girl was rocked to sleep.
Green flesh, green eyes,
And cold silver for eyes.
An icicle from the moonlight
Carries her on the water.
The night went intimate
Like a little village square
And drunken civil guards
Banged on the door.
Green, how I love you green
Green flesh, green branches
The boat on the sea
And the horse in the mountain.

(A patchy translation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s “Romance sonambulo”, from the Romancero Gitano)

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