Federico Garcia Lorca

Ode to Salvador Dali

A rose in the high garden that you desire. A wheel in the pure syntax of steel. The mountain stripped of impressionist mist. Greys looking out from the last balustrades. Modern painters in their black studios, Sever the square root's sterilized flower. In the Seine's flood an iceberg of marble freezes the windows and scatters the ivy. Man treads the paved streets firmly. Crystals hide from reflections' magic. Government has closed the perfume shops. The machine beats out its binary rhythm. An absence of forests, screens and brows Wanders the roof-tiles of ancient houses. The air polishes its prism on the sea and the horizon looms like a vast aqueduct. Marines ignorant of wine and half-light, decapitate sirens on seas of lead. Night, black statue of prudence, holds the moon's round mirror in her hand. A desire for form and limit conquers us. Here comes the man who sees with a yellow ruler. Venus is a white still life and the butterfly collectors flee. Cadaqués, the fulcrum of water and hill, lifts flights of steps and hides seashells. Wooden flutes pacify the air. An old god of the woods gives children fruit. Her fishermen slumber, dreamless, on sand. On the deep, a rose serves as their compass. The virgin horizon of wounded handkerchiefs, unites the vast crystals of fish and moon. A hard diadem of white brigantines wreathes bitter brows and hair of sand. The sirens convince, but fail to beguile, and appear if we show a glass of fresh water. Oh Salvador Dalí, of the olive voice! I don't praise your imperfect adolescent brush or your pigments that circle those of your age, I salute your yearning for bounded eternity. Healthy soul, you live on fresh marble. You flee the dark wood of improbable forms. Your fantasy reaches as far as your hands, and you savor the sea's sonnet at your window. The world holds dull half-light and disorder, in the foreground humanity frequents. But now the stars, concealing landscapes, mark out the perfect scheme of their courses. The flow of time forms pools, gains order, in the measured forms of age upon age. And conquered Death, trembling, takes refuge in the straightended circle of the present moment. Taking your palette, its wing holds a bullet-hole, you summon the light that revives the olive-tree. Broad light of Minverva, builder of scaffolding, with no room for dream and its inexact flower. You summon the light that rests on the brow, not reaching the mouth or the heart of man. Light feared by the trailing vines of Bacchus, and the blind force driving the falling water. You do well to place warning flags on the dark frontier that shines with night. As a painter you don't wish your forms softened by the shifting cotton of unforeseen clouds. The fish in its bowl and the bird in its cage. You refuse to invent them in sea or in air. You stylize or copy once you have seen, with your honest eyes, their smal agile bodies. You love a matter defined and exact, where the lichen cannot set up its camp. You love architecture built on the absent, admitting the banner merely in jest. The steel compass speaks its short flexible verse. Now unknown islands deny the sphere. The straight line speaks of its upward fight and learned crystals sing their geometry. Yet the rose too in the garden where you live. Ever the rose, ever, our north and south! Calm, intense like an eyeless staute, blind to the underground struggle it causes. Pure rose that frees from artifice, sketches, and opens for us the slight wings of a smile (Pinned butterfly that muses in flight.) Rose of pure balance not seeking pain. Ever the rose! Oh Salvador Dalí of the olive voice! I speak of what you and your paintings tell me. I don't praise your imperfect adolescent brush, but I sing the firm aim of your arrows. I sing your sweet battle of Catalan lights, you love of what might be explained. I sing your heart astronomical, tender, a deck of French cards, and never wounded. I sing longing for statues, sought without rest, your fear of emotions that wait in the street. I sing the tiny sea-siren who sings to you riding a bicycle of corals and conches. But above all I sing a shared thought that joins us in the dark and the golden hours. It is not Art, this light that blinds our eyes. Rather it is love, friendship, the clashing of swords. Rather than the picture you patiently trace, it's the breast of Theresa, she of insomniac skin, the tight curls of Mathilde the ungrateful, our friendship a board-game brightly painted. May the tracks of fingers in blood on gld stripe the heart of eternal Catalonia. May stars like fists without falcons shine on you, while your art and your life burst into flower. Don't watch the water-clock with membranous wings, nor the harsh scythe of the allegories. Forever clothe and bare your brush in the air before the sea peopled with boats and sailors.

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