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abOut thE prOgraM

THE SLEEPWALKING BALLAD Federico García Lorca, translated by Michael Hartnett

Green, how I love you, green. Green wind, green branches. Ship up on the sea, horse in the mountain ranches. With shadows at her waist she dreams at her balcony window, Green flesh, green hair and eyes of cold silver. Green, how I love you, green. Huge stars of frost come out with the fish-shadow to open the dawn’s pass. The fig tree strokes the wind with its sandpaper talons, the thieving cat of a mountain bristles its sour aloes. But who will come? And from where? She lingers on the balcony, green flesh, green hair, dreaming of the bitter sea. ‘Friend, I want to swap my saddle for your mirror, my horse for your house, my knife for your bed-cover. Friend, I have come bleeding from the passes of Cabra.’ ‘If I could, young man, I would close the bargain. But I am no longer myself nor is my house my own.’ ‘Friend, I wish to die decently at home with white linen bed-clothes. Do you not see this wound I have from breast to throat?’ ‘On your white shirt you have three hundred dark roses. Your blood smells pungent as through your sash it oozes. But I am no longer myself nor is my house my own.’

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‘At least let me climb up to the high balcony alone, let me climb, let me up to the green balconies where the water sounds on the moon’s many balconies.’ And now the two friends climb up to the green stairs, leaving a trail of blood, leaving a trail of tears. Small lanterns of tin on the roofs quaked: A thousand drums of crystal wounded the daybreak. Green, how I love you, green. Green wind, green branches. The two friends climb and the strong wind launches a strange taste in the mouth, mint, gall and basil. ‘Friend, where is she? Tell me, Where is your bitter girl? How often she waited for you! How often she would wait on the green balcony, cool face, black hair.’ Over the face of the well the gypsy girl shivered, green flesh, green hair and eyes of cold silver. An icicle of the moon over the water held her: the night became as secret as a little square. Green, how I love you, green. Green wind, green branches, ship up on the sea, horse in the mountain ranches. (Text used by permission of the Estate of Michael Hartnett)

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