Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ballad of the Small Plaza by Federico Garcia Lorca

“Singing of children in the night silence: light of the stream, and calm of the fountain.”  -Lorca

For most people, before they travel to a foreign country, they pack the essentials.
“What does  your heart hold, divine in its gladness?”  A peal from the bell tower lost in the dimness.”  -Lorca

Camera tripods and walking sticks and rechargeable battery packs, rain ponchos and rubber sandals...
“Dip them in the water of the songs of the ages.  Light of the stream, and calm of the fountain.  What does your tongue feel, scarlet and thirsting?”  -Lorca

They download Tripadvisor apps and iPhone maps and carry travel books like Lonely Planet.  (It can be very lonely indeed)
“Who showed you the road there, the road of the poets?  The fount and the stream of the song of ages.”  -Lorca

Most try to travel light.  This week I heard of two sisters that compete for the lightest rucksack, sawing off toothbrush handles and turning their underwear inside-out.  That... takes devotion!
“Do you go far from the earth and the ocean?  It’s filled with light, is my heart of silk, and with bells that are lost, with bees and with lilies, and I will go far off, behind those hills there, close to the starlight, to ask of the Christ there.”  -Lorca

But for me...before I leave the comfort of house and home... before I set off into the wild blue yonder of the unknown... before my bags are packed and zipped and waiting by the door... I stow away the poetry of the land in my heart.
“Lord, return to me my child’s soul, ancient, ripened with legends, with a cap of feathers and a sword of wood.” -Lorca

I memorize her verses and scribble her sayings, rip pages from books and roll them up in my socks, etch words of the country and city's greatest lovers on my hands and arms and chest and legs and carry them with me like warm wine in the sun.  I've always done this.
“You leave us singing in the small plaza.  Light of the stream, and calm of the fountain.”  -Lorca

Walking the streets of Barcelona hearing Lorca whisper to me, welcoming me ashore.

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