Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Peace, laughter and green

Peace: the early stages.

At the self-checkout in the supermarket I try to insert my credit card in the machine that dispenses receipts for cash payments. Sympathetic laughter from an old person waiting to use the checkout. At least I hope it is sympathetic. "That's why I like the job," says the young man in attendence to ensure that self-checkout runs smoothly. "You get some amusing moments."

Almost all yesterday's snow has melted  leaving the grass bright green. It reminds me of first reading Garcia Lorca's poetry with its guitar rhythms and surrealist images, when I was but a lad. I have never got these lines out of my head.
 Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento, verdes ramas.
El barco sobre el mar
y el caballo en la montana.
Con la sombra en la cintura,
ella sueno en su baranda,
verde carne, pelo verde
con ojos de fria plata.
Verde que te quiero verde.
Green how much I love you green.
Green wind, green boughs.
The ship on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
With the shadow in her belt
she dreams on the veranda.
green flesh, green hair
with eyes of cold silver.
How much I love you green.
I pull out my copy of the Penguin Book of Spanish Verse which is coming apart. It has the price of 5 shillings- (25 p) on the cover.  The translator of this poem says that the first line has a secondary meaning in Spanish -" green how very deeply green". But I have never been able to source that meaning. Whenever I think of the poem it always puzzles me.



3 comments:

marja-leena said...

After a couple of frustrating episodes at the self-checkout, I avoid it.

That's a lovely poem on "Green". As for green grass in winter, I'm reminded of visitors from colder climates who have been here in winter and how shocked they are at how green everything is. Mind, much of it is moss. Our grass tends towards brown in the summer.

Sandra Oxfam Bookshop said...

According to Juan Ramón Jiménez the line comes from a Spanish folk song: “Verde que to quiero verde / de color de aceituna.” Not sure that helps with translation, but I can't see now the "deeply green" version works either. Have you seen the drawing http://people.tribe.net/hybridity/photos/217cde42-5092-469f-bdd4-e62ec4321c2a or heard the musical version by, I think, Manzanita?

Joe Hyam said...

M-L I try to avoid the self-checkout. But always enjoy the sense of achievement when I succeed in noegotiating it.

Sandra Thanks for the Manzanita tip. And the folksong reference. I found the song on Youtube. I'm glad I'm not alone in not discovering the secondary meaning.