Poem – The Old Lizard – Federico García Lorca

In the parched path 

I have seen the good lizard 

(one dropp of crocodile) 


With his green frock-coat 

of an abbot of the devil, 

his correct bearing 

and his stiff collar, 

he has the sad air 

of an old professor. 

Those faded eyes 

of a broken artist, 

how they watch the afternoon 

in dismay! 
Is this, my friend, 

your twilight constitutional? 

Please use your cane, 

you are very old, Mr. Lizard, 

and the children of the village 

may startle you. 

What are you seeking in the path, 

my near-sighted philosopher, 

if the wavering phantasm 

of the parched afternoon 

has broken the horizon? 
Are you seeking the blue alms 

of the moribund heaven? 

A penny of a star? 

Or perhaps 

you’ve been reading a volume 

of Lamartine, and you relish 

the plateresque trills 

of the birds? 
(You watch the setting sun, 

and your eyes shine, 

oh, dragon of the frogs, 

with a human radiance. 

Ideas, gondolas without oars, 

cross the shadowy 

waters of your 

burnt-out eyes.) 
Have you come looking 

for that lovely lady lizard, 

green as the wheatfields 

of May, 

as the long locks 

of sleeping pools, 

who scorned you, and then 

left you in your field? 

Oh, sweet idyll, broken 

among the sweet sedges! 

But, live! What the devil! 

I like you. 

The motto ‘I oppose 

the serpent’ triumphs 

in that grand double chin 

of a Christian archbishop. 
Now the sun has dissolved 

in the cup of the mountains, 

and the flocks 

cloud the roadway. 

It is the hour to depart: 

leave the dry path 

and your meditations. 

You will have time 

to look at the stars 

when the worms are eating you 

at their leisure. 

Go home to your house 

by the village, of the crickets! 

Good night, my friend 

Mr. Lizard! 
Now the field is empty, 

the mountains dim, 

the roadway deserted. 

Only, now and again, 

a cuckoo sings in the darkness 

of the poplar trees.

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