Lorca's Ballad of the moon, moon

For The Butterfly's Spell, I wanted an interlude in between the two acts, and used this famous ballad, in my own translation. Here are some other translations that I looked at; most of them I thought almost as incomprehensible in English as the Spanish original. I'm sorry to have lost the attributions.



La luna vino a la fragua
con su polisón de nardos.
El niño la mira, mira.
El niño la está mirando.
En el aire conmovido
mueve la luna sus brazos
y enseña, lúbrica y pura,
sus senos de duro estaño.
Huye luna, luna, luna.
Si vinieran los gitanos,
harían con tu corazón
collares y anillos blancos.
Niño, déjame que baile.
Cuando vengan los gitanos,
te encontrarán sobre el yunque
con los ojillos cerrados.
Huye luna, luna, luna,
que ya siento sus caballos.
Niño, déjame, no pises
mi blancor almidonado.
El jinete se acercaba tocando el tambor del llano. Dentro de la fragua el niño, tiene los ojos cerrados.
Por el olivar ven'an, bronce y sueño, los gitanos. Las cabezas levantadas y los ojos entornados.
Cómo canta la zumaya,
¡ay, cómo canta en el árbol!
Por el cielo va la luna
con un niño de la mano.
Dentro de la fragua lloran,
dando gritos, los gitanos.
El aire la vela, vela.
El aire la está velando.






The moon came to the forge
   with her skirt of white, fragrant flowers.
   The young boy watches her, watches.
   The boy is watching her.
In the electrified air
   the moon moves her arms
   and points out, lecherous and pure,
   her breasts of hard tin.
Flee, moon, moon, moon.
   If the gypsies were to come,
   they would make with your heart
   white necklaces and rings.
Young boy, leave me to dance.
   When they come, the gypsies
   will find you upon the anvil
   with closed eyes.
Flee, moon, moon, moon.
   Already I sit astride horses.
   Young boy, leave me, don’t step on
   my starched whiteness.
The horse rider approaches
   beating the drum of the plain.
   Within the forge the young man
   has closed eyes.
Through the olive grove they come,
   the gypsies –  bronze and dreaming,
   heads lifted
   and eyes half closed.
Hark, hear the night bird –
   how it sings in the tree.
   Across the sky moves the moon,
   holding the young boy by the hand.
Within the forge the gypsies cry,
   are crying out.
   The air watches over her, watches.
   The air is watching over her.


The moon came to the forge
wearing her bustle of nards.
The child stares and stares at her;
the child keeps staring on.
In the agitated air the moon moves her arms 
revealing lubricious and pure
her breasts, tin and hard.
Run away, moon, moon, moon!
If the gypsies find where we are
white necklaces and rings
they’ll make of your heart.
Little boy, let me dance,
for when the gypsies come,
on the anvil they’ll find you
with your little eyes shut.
Run away, moon, moon, moon;
already I hear a horse.
Little boy, let me be, don’t step
on my whiteness of starch.
Beating the drum of the plains
the horseman approached,
and inside the forge
the child’s eyes are closed
Through the olive grove they came,
gypsies half bronze and half dream,
their heads lifted up high,
eyes closed as in sleep.
How the owl is singing,
from its tree, how it hoots!
With a child by the hand
through the sky goes the moon.
Inside the forge
the gypsies cry and scream.
The air keeps on in vigil.
The air its vigil keeps


The moon came to the forge
with his polisón of nardos.
The boy the sight, watches.
The boy is watching it.
In the affected air
he moves the moon his arms
and he teaches, lascivious and pure,
its sines of duro tin.
It flees moon, moon, moon.
If the gypsys came,
they would do with your heart
white necklaces and ring.
Boy, leaves me that he dances.
When the gypsys come,
they will find you on the anvil
with the closed ojillos.
He flees moon, moon, moon,
that I already feel its horses.
Boy, leaves me, you are not above
my starchy whiteness.
The rider approached 
touching the drum of the level one.
Within the forge the boy, 
has the closed eyes.
By the olive grove they came, 
bronze and dream, the gypsys. 
The raised heads and the half-closed eyes.
How it sings zumaya,
ay, how it sings in the tree!
By the sky the moon goes
with a boy of the hand.
Within the forge they cry,
giving shouts, the gypsys.
The air the candle, guards.
The air is guarding it


Moon came to the forge
in her petticoat of nard
The boy looks and looks
the boy looks at the Moon
In the turbulent air
Moon lifts up her arms
showing — pure and sexy — 
her beaten-tin breasts
Run Moon run Moon Moon
If the gypsies came
white rings and white necklaces
they would beat from your heart
Boy will you let me dance — 
when the gypsies come
they’ll find you on the anvil
with your little eyes shut
Run Moon run Moon Moon
I hear the horses’ hoofs
Leave me boy! Don’t walk
on my lane of white starch
The horseman came beating
the drum of the plains
The boy at the forge
has his little eyes shut
Through the olive groves
in bronze and in dreams
here the gypsies come
their heads riding high
their eyelids hanging low
How the night heron sings
how it sings in the tree
Moon crosses the sky
with a boy by the hand
At the forge the gypsies
cry and then scream
The wind watches watches
the wind watches the Moon


    The moon came to the forge
wearing a bustle of Spikenards.
The boy is looking at her.
The boy is looking hard.
In the troubled air,
the wind moves her arms,
showing lewd and pure,
her hard, tin breasts.
"Run, moon, moon, moon.
If the gypsies came,
they would make of your heart
necklaces and white rings."
"Child, let me dance.
When the gypsies come,
they will find you on the anvil
with your little eyes shut tight."
"Run, moon moon moon.
I can hear their horses.
Child, let me be, don't walk
on my starchy white."
    The rider was drawing closer
playing the drum of the plain.
In the forge the child
has his eyes shut tight.
Bronze and dream, the gypsies
cross the olive grove.
Their heads held high,
their eyes half open.
   Ay how the nightjar sings!
How it sings in the tree!
The moon goes through the sky
with a child in her hand.
    In the forge the gypsies
wept and cried aloud.
The air is watching, watching.
The air watched all night long.

This is my version:

The moon came to the forge
dressed in her bustle gown.
The boy looks and he stares.
The boy keeps staring hard.
The moon moves her arms in the breeze
revealing her breasts of bright bronze,
which entrance and entice him.
“Run, oh moon, moon, moon.
If the gypsies come
they will turn your heart
into shining trinkets.”
“Boy, let me dance.
When the gypsies come
they will find you on the anvil
with your little eyes closed.”
“Run, oh moon, moon, moon,
for I hear their horses now.”
“Boy, let me be, 
don’t trample my gaudy garments”.
The riders come closer,
they hear their drum on the plain.
Inside the forge the boy’s eyes shut tight.
Through the grove come the gypsies, 
brazen or dreamy, heads high or eyes sleepy.
How the owl cries,
yea, how it cries in the tree!
The moon crosses the sky
leading a boy by the hand.
Inside the forge the gypsies weep and they wail. 
The breeze keeps watch.

The breeze is keeping watch.
© Edward Lambert 2017

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