I've already asked one question on this poem and I did think to include this question along with it but decided against it as the poem is quite long, though of course not as long as some ancient epics like the Mahabharata.

In the sixth and seventh stanzas of ‘The King of Harlem’, Federico García Lorca writes (in the English translation from The Selected Poems of Federico García Lorca):

Necessary to murder the blonde seller of brandy,
and all the friends of the apple and sand,
necessary to bang with closed fists
the small Jewesses that tremble full of bubbles,
so that the King of Harlem sings with his multitude,
so that the crocodiles sleep in long rows
under the asbestos of the moon,
so that nobody doubts the infinite beauty of funnels,
graters, feather-dusters, and saucepans in kitchens.

Ah Harlem! Ah Harlem! Ah Harlem!
There is no anxiety compared to your oppressed scarlets,
to your blood shaken within your dark eclipse,
to your garnet violence deaf and dumb in the penumbra,
to your great King, prisoner with a commissionaire’s uniform.

What does Lorca mean by that thread of red that threads itself through the seventh stanza? ‘Oppressed scarlets’, ‘blood shaken’ and ‘garnet violence’?

The sixth stanza is there as an introduction to the seventh.

  • 2
    Asking this as two questions is totally the right thing to do, even if the poem were shorter.
    – Matt Thrower
    Nov 12, 2018 at 12:27


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