The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Thursday, County Fair, Efficiency Expert

City That Does Not Sleep
By Federico García Lorca
Translated by Robert Bly

In the sky there is nobody asleep. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
The creatures of the moon sniff and prowl about their cabins.
The living iguanas will come and bite the men who do not dream,
and the man who rushes out with his spirit broken will meet on the street corner
the unbelievable alligator quiet beneath the tender protest of the stars.

Nobody is asleep on earth. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
In a graveyard far off there is a corpse
who has moaned for three years
because of a dry countryside on his knee;
and that boy they buried this morning cried so much
it was necessary to call out the dogs to keep him quiet.

Life is not a dream. Careful! Careful! Careful!
We fall down the stairs in order to eat the moist earth
or we climb to the knife edge of the snow with the voices of the dead dahlias.
But forgetfulness does not exist, dreams do not exist;
flesh exists. Kisses tie our mouths
in a thicket of new veins,
and whoever his pain pains will feel that pain forever
and whoever is afraid of death will carry it on his shoulders.

One day
the horses will live in the saloons
and the enraged ants
will throw themselves on the yellow skies that take refuge in the eyes of cows.

Another day
we will watch the preserved butterflies rise from the dead
and still walking through a country of gray sponges and silent boats
we will watch our ring flash and roses spring from our tongue.
Careful! Be careful! Be careful!
The men who still have marks of the claw and the thunderstorm,
and that boy who cries because he has never heard of the invention of the bridge,
or that dead man who possesses now only his head and a shoe,
we must carry them to the wall where the iguanas and the snakes are waiting,
where the bear's teeth are waiting,
where the mummified hand of the boy is waiting,
and the hair of the camel stands on end with a violent blue shudder.

Nobody is sleeping in the sky. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is sleeping.
If someone does close his eyes,
a whip, boys, a whip!
Let there be a landscape of open eyes
and bitter wounds on fire.
No one is sleeping in this world. No one, no one.
I have said it before.

No one is sleeping.
But if someone grows too much moss on his temples during the night,
open the stage trapdoors so he can see in the moonlight
the lying goblets, and the poison, and the skull of the theaters.


I had many places to be on Wednesday, so the best thing I can say about the day is that everything got done that needed to be done. We all got up early to drive to College Park so that Daniel could fill out the paperwork for his new position as a teaching assistant, which went more quickly than I feared it might. Since we were in and out of the engineering school offices in less than an hour, we then drove to Rockville to get Adam new running shoes and spikes for the cross country season, and since we were right near it, we went to a Chinese buffet for lunch that both the kids had been to before but I never had -- the enormous salad bar and wide range of vegetarian entrees made me very happy! Then we all went for annual checkups at the dermatologist at which he told us we had nothing serious going on (we have skin cancer all over both sides of the family, so we are paranoid about moles, though the doctor said that the biggest risk was probably certain people failing to listen to their mothers and use sunblock *cough*).

My mother texted while we were at the doctor to find out if we wanted to meet her for frozen yogurt in the mall, which we did, though we didn't stay at the mall long because Adam needed to come home to walk the neighbor's dogs because he had a dinner date. While he was out, the rest of us went to Target to get plates and stuff for Daniel's new apartment, and then we watched Broadchurch, which continues to be superbly acted and very depressing. I forgot to mention yesterday that my laundry-folding movie was The Efficiency Expert, which I put on because it was one of a very small number of Russell Crowe movies I'd never seen and it also stars Anthony Hopkins in one of his quieter, less flamboyant performances; it's about a shoe manufacturing plant in a suburb of Melbourne where treating people well is more important to the owner than profits, but he's on the verge of running out of money, and the conflict (outsourcing and downsizing versus defending the workers and their community) is still pretty timely. A few more county fair pics:


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