The Good Night and Good Morning of Federico Garcia Lorca

The Good Night and Good Morning of Federico Garcia Lorca

He knew he was asleep and was dreaming
      Of a beautiful poem. It seemed to be singing
            Itself in the night, and he woke   
In a bed in a room in an old hotel   
     And lay there, hearing the song go on   
            Though he could see the shape  
Of his empty shirt on the straight chair   
      And his empty shoes on the patch of carpet
           Made light, half by the moon   
And half by the gray beginning   
      Of dawn. He could see the silhouette 
            Of his own hand against the window shade   
Like a flower, open and waiting. He smiled   
      At the foolishness of loving his own poem 
           In his own dream, of accepting praise   
From his own shadow. But his mind's eye   
      Kept seeing that poem and his real ear   
            Kept hearing that same song. It came from the street   
Under his window, and before he knew why,   
      He was out of bed and shivering his way clumsily 
           Into what were some of his clothes   
And one of his shoes and stumbling   
      Into the hall and down the unlighted stairs   
            And through the lobby (where the clerk was dreaming
Something else), through the stubbornly locked door   
      And along the sidewalk to the curb where the singer   
            Was sweeping trash and leaves along the gutter   
With his slow broom, who now stopped, his mouth   
      Open to gape at an apparition   
            Holding a scrap of paper up to his face   
And begging him to read aloud. The sweeper whispered   
      He couldn't read. And Lorca took him   
            Into his arms and kissed him and kissed   
The morning air, now stirring what was left   
      Of the leaves overhead, and went limping back   
            Through a door that stood wide open   
And a grand lobby and up the stairs into bed   
      To lie there stark awake as sleeplessly   
            As a poet who'd been told he was immortal.

'The Good Night and...' from Good Morning and Good Night: poems (University of illinois Press, 2005) copyright© 2005 by David Wagoner, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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