Within the rose

After the Friday night show I was talking to several empresarial gents about taking something along similar lines into districts and villages much further afield. It would be really interesting to weave in local culture, said one, at which point my spirits sank. Literary fakelorism of the silverquick quality of Lorca’s gypsy ballads has always been the exception, the norm being defined by stuff like Juan Ramón Jiménez’s ca 1920 ¡Amor!:

Todas las rosas son la misma rosa,
¡amor!, la única rosa;
y todo queda contenido en ella,
breve imajen [sic – his spelling has phonetic purpose] del mundo,
¡amor!, la unica rosa.

Immoderately Anglicised:

Every rose is one same rose,
The only rose is love!
And all the wonders of the world
Furled in a thorngreen frame proclaim:
The only rose is love!

I prefer less self-conscious village love. Here’s the 1924-ish Voz madura/Voice of maturity by José Moreno Villa, who would never have dreamt of living in anything smaller than a large building in a decent-sized town:

Déjame tu caña verde.
Toma mi vara de granado.

¿No ves que el cielo está rojo
y amarillo el prado;
que las naranjas saben a rosas
y las rosas a cuerpo humano?

Déjame tu caña verde.
Toma mi vara de granado.

Almost, kind of:

Leave me your cane of green.
Take my pomegranate stick.

Do you not see how red is the sky
and yellow the meadow;
that the oranges taste of roses
and the roses of human flesh?

Leave me your cane of green.
Take my pomegranate stick.

Abstracted still further, and thinking of one particular you, the (Saturday) night, and the music Lambrusco (Pakistanis know we prefer cheap Italian bubbly to the local product), here’s a favourite Pedro Salinas fragment from the mid-40s:

Esta tarde, frente a ti,
en los ojos siento algo
que te mira y no soy yo.


Facing you this evening,
in my eyes I feel something
watching you that is not me.

What is the favoured habitat of the grammar hawk?

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