The Faithless Wife – Federico García Lorca

So I took her to the river 

believing she was a maiden, 

but she already had a husband. 

It was on St. James night 

and almost as if I was obliged to. 

The lanterns went out 

and the crickets lighted up. 

In the farthest street corners 

I touched her sleeping breasts 

and they opened to me suddenly 

like spikes of hyacinth. 

The starch of her petticoat 

sounded in my ears 

like a piece of silk 

rent by ten knives. 

Without silver light on their foliage 

the trees had grown larger 

and a horizon of dogs 

barked very far from the river. 
Past the blackberries, 

the reeds and the hawthorne 

underneath her cluster of hair 

I made a hollow in the earth 

I took off my tie, 

she too off her dress. 

I, my belt with the revolver, 

She, her four bodices. 

Nor nard nor mother-o’-pearl 

have skin so fine, 

nor does glass with silver 

shine with such brilliance. 

Her thighs slipped away from me 

like startled fish, 

half full of fire, 

half full of cold. 

That night I ran 

on the best of roads 

mounted on a nacre mare 

without bridle stirrups. 
As a man, I won’t repeat 

the things she said to me. 

The light of understanding 

has made me more discreet. 

Smeared with sand and kisses 

I took her away from the river. 

The swords of the lilies 

battled with the air. 
I behaved like what I am, 

like a proper gypsy. 

I gave her a large sewing basket, 

of straw-colored satin, 

but I did not fall in love 

for although she had a husband 

she told me she was a maiden 

when I took her to the river.