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Transoxiana 7 - Diciembre 2003

On the poetics of Lorca's "Divan of Tamarit"

Hamid Ismailov

Translated into English by Natalya Khan & Saodat I. Bazarova

Original text, in Russian, at

When referring to great names, there is always a temptation to replace the very natural treatment of such insignificant but traditional speech figures such as "distinguished", "miraculous", "unique", and so forth. Actually, this temptation underlines the boundary that allows us to discriminate between "tradition" and "innovation," although tradition is not a sheer repetition, as innovation is not mere renewal.

These considerations deprive me of the necessity, on the one hand, to portray the greatness of Lorca, Hafiz, Navoi, or Ibn Hazm, and, on the other, to immediately get into the essence of what I am about to say.

In 1928, Federico García Lorca, enduring natural depression of creativity after writing his renowned "The Gypsy Ballads" in the picturesque heart of Andalucia-Tamarit, Andalucia of gardens and fields, snowy mountain peaks of Sierra Nevada, and red towers of Alhambra, noted: "Andalucia is incredible! It's West without poison and is East without action." Here, in the last kingdom of Moors in Europe, he turns to Muslim poets of Granada -to Hafiz, to his "elevated loved ghazals"- and exclaims: "My poetry has unfolded its wings for flight!"

Thus is marked the beginning of work on Lorca's last (and perhaps his consummated) book, that never saw light while poet was alive -"Divan del Tamarit." It needs to be said that in the oriental poetry divan is a collection of ghazals and other poetic forms arranged in certain order, namely in the order of Arab alphabet's bayt endings, i.e. the first ghazals end with "alef," the next with "ba," and so on.

Lorca's "Divan del Tamarit" consists of 12 ghazals and 9 qasidas. Of course, Lorca did not follow formal characteristics relevant to the rules of formation of canonical type of divans. However, he observed some conventional techniques that distinguish ghazals and qasidas from other forms of poetry. We shall talk about them below. If we follow after Lorca into the history of oriental poetry, we would have to study a great number of various sources such as fiery sermons of Zaratushtra ("I work as fire," said Lorca), Bedouin "Muallaq" of Imruulkais ("I hear nothing except for cry," echoed Federico), perfection of Hafiz' and Navoi's ghazals ("Oh, your lips at the time of my death," pleaded poet), and many others. Therefore, we will limit ourselves to examination of the traditional form of oriental poetry as ghazal.

As is known, ghazal, as a poetic form, began forming in the ninth and tenth centuries in the Arab poetry; however, it reached perfection and, in some sense, canonization in the creative works of Hafiz. Only after Hafiz, it has been kept strictly to specific strophic, composition, and semantic attributes, namely: (1) the writing of a ghazal with bayts, or double lines, (2) rhyming of bayts as in the form of a-a, b-a, c-a, and so forth, (3) the use of radif, repetition of a group of words or a word at the end of the line, (4) designation of ghazal authorship with the help of takhallos (pen name), etc.

At present time, poetics of a traditional ghazal as a poetic form seems to have been studied in full, and here we have to name, first of all, the works of E. E. Bertels, Ya. Ripka, I. V. Stebleva, A. Haitmetov, and others, where the formative role of various ghazal elements, peculiarities of its composition, semantics, and so forth has been revealed. If the results of ghazal research are combined, then primarily it can be said that ghazal is, on the one hand, a purely lyric form characterizing, first of all, an internal state and not an external action, on the other, ghazal is characterized by having two semantic fields: "I" of the lyric protagonist and "you," or "she," his lover who are mutually impervious. The tension set by the rupture of these two fields (separation, break up, unattainability, etc.) is also a poetic, emotional tension of a ghazal, its ethos.

Much has been said about this, in one or another way, in the Arabic treatises about ghazal of the tenth centuries, as well as in the most modern research.

In addition to the opposition of "I-you" or "I-she," there is a number of oppositions like "I-opponent", "I-compassionate person" (the sheikh, the wine dispenser, the doctor, the people, etc). If we sum up the entire world of a ghazal, then its morphology, as a rule, is as follows: on the one side, it is "I" -the lyric protagonist, on the other, it is "you" or "she" -the lover, and between them, there is an insurmountable space of their relations, as well as kind, compassionate, pandering, and aiding forces gravitating towards lyric protagonist, and the hostile, resisting, counteracting beginning brought closer to the lover-opponent. Universality of such a morphology is obvious. In various research of ghazal, there were attempts to separate these "semantic fields" with different degrees of detail; yet, unfortunately, we were not successful in finding research neither about the universality of such a model, nor about its applicability to various aspects of a spiritual life. In other words, these "acting forces" of a ghazal are brought together in a list; however, the universal feature of the dynamics of this system, as a thinking construct, as a figure of thought, has remained outside the field of speculation. Meanwhile, measures taken to divide ghazals into different genre subtypes such as love, Sufic, parodistic, sermonic, landscape, publicistic, etc., sufficiently demonstrate the breadth of applicability of this five-member invariance, which, as is seen from the above enumeration, might be correlated with all kinds of human spiritual activities. In this invariance, there is a universal construction: on the one hand, the subject of activity, on the other, its object, the very activity, the form of which, in fact, defines the genre of the ghazal, and it is that what can be called "conditions of the activity", and these conditions can both promote the activity (positive conditionality) and counteract (negative conditionality).

As most of the classical ghazals are about love in nature, then the morphology of a ghazal in some degree can be interpreted, speaking in a boring language, as the morphology of a communicative activity. In some sense, this is so because it is a sin to talk about love in such words as aesthetics, ethics, and refuge found in knowledge, but the important thing here for us is that it is between human beings. Again, returning to a boring language and considering ghazal as a poetic model of a communicative act, one cannot fail to see the internal paradox of this poetic form. On the one hand, ghazal, as a depiction of a burning aspiration of the lyric protagonist to a meeting with his lover (in Sufic ghazals, confluence with the Almighty), is geared towards a potential parley even in that it presupposes the existence of a lover or the Almighty, or as we could have called it in terms of communication theory -the recipient of information, but at the same time being a lyric expression it remains within the boundaries of soliloquy or monody. This contradiction is perhaps the meaning forming contradiction of a ghazal as a poetic form, engendering its emotional charge and tension. Comparison of a ghazal to a spring, outlined latently in a previous discussion, is indeed legitimate in many respects, and here is how. There is a wide spread opinion of a ghazal as stringing of homogeneous bayts. A deeper variety of this standpoint is a comparison of ghazal to a wheel with the central bushing (the main bayt) and the spokes branching off of it (Ya. Ripka).

In her book about Babur's ghazal, the Soviet researcher I. V. Stebleva revealed that a ghazal, and Babur's ghazal in particular, has also a linear composition: matla, the first bayt, is the origin and the foundation, the second bayt is the development of the origin, the third bayt is ante-climactic, the fifth bayt, maqta, is final and, as a rule, resolving. Both of these notions, cyclical and linear, apparently reflect only one of the instances of the ghazal structure, and if it is at the bayt level, we may indeed say about the cyclical characteristic of a poetic expression, then from a standpoint of a ghazal as a compositional unity, it possesses all the elements of forming a plot.

However, it must be noted, that forming a plot in a ghazal is imaginary, and this circumstance both follows from and continues our previous discussions about internal contradiction of a ghazal as a expression of speech. Specifically, with the notorious appeal to itself in a ghazal, its lyric, monodic feature (participation of another person in communication is conditional, and an imaginary development of a plot is simply an accumulation of potential energy) is the compression or the tension of a spiral spring of the expression to its climactic limits.

Before interpreting the nature of classical oriental ghazal poetics as the "zero level" for understanding Lorca's ghazals, it must be said that such an internal incongruity is found in all formal genres of a ghazal. Rhyming in the form of a-a, b-a, c-a, etc. is a combination of a variable and a constant, a deviation and a norm, and absence of a rhyme in the first lines of bayts and monorhyme in the second. In a similar fashion, repetition of radif is a combination of an invariable group of words or a word and varying surroundings, and it is also a a dialectic of the text included in a different context, and through it is a discovery of new facets of a radif. We may call this opposition as dialectic of statics and dynamics, a norm and a deviation, a canon and an improvisation, or, more fundamentally, existence and formation.

By diversifying these oppositions and by merging them with the philosophy of ghazal, it can be said that in a ghazal there is a motive, but there is no deed; there is a thought, but there is no action. This contradiction is also continued in the 'aruz meter of a ghazal.

The common principle, advanced through ghazal elements of a varying degree, compels not only to assume it as a certain hierarchy of these constructions, but also to correlate this hierarchy with the fundamental bases of the very thinking and philosophy of medieval oriental poets.

Up to this point we spoke mainly about the formal elements of a ghazal, and now, approaching more widely to a problem of ghazal poetics, we shall consider, for example, Navoi's well-known ghazal with a radif "Келмади" ("She did not come").

Кеча келгумдур дебон ул сарви гулру келмади,
Кузларимга кеча тонг откунча уйку келмади.
Лахза-лахза чиктиму, чектим йулида интизор,
Келди жон огзимгау ул шухи бадху келмади.
Оразидек ойдин эрконда гар этти зхтиёт,
Рузгоримдек хам улгонда коронгу келмади.
Ул париваш хажридинким йигладим девонавор,
Кимса бормуким анга курганда кулгу келмади.
Кузларингдин неча сув келгай деб ултурманг мени
Ким бори кон эрди келган бу кеча сув келмади.
Толиби содик топилмас, йуксаким куйди кадам
Йулгаким аввал кадам маъшука утру келмади.
Эй, Навоий, бода бирла хуррам эт кунглунг уйин
Не учунким бода келган уйга кайгу келмади.

We realize that we shall have to check "harmony with algebra" pedantically, even when any words may be superfluous -that is how self-sufficient a ghazal is- we shall analyze it meticulously, and yet, let a number of impending paradoxes begin with this: commentaries ("sharh") are necessary even when they are unnecessary.

First of all, we shall note that the ghazal model articulated earlier is sustained here almost in its entirety. There is the semantic field of lyric "I;" the semantic field where "she" is; also there is an insurmountable field of separation; compassionate people- "кимса" whom the lyric protagonist refers to: "деб ултурманг;" there are negatively marked "топилмас" "толиби содик;".

There are also two main components of a ghazal theme: portrayal of lyric protagonist's feelings of love and depiction of his lover's beauty which are contrasted. Later, we could have analyzed line-by-line the motives of each mesrā however, this method is thoroughly described and used by I. V. Stebleva in the analyses of Babur's ghazals, and it releases us from the similar path of research.

As for the formation of the plot, then the first mesrā of the first bayt: "Кеча келгумдур дебон ул сарви гулру келмади," exhausting the plot, it excludes everything else into the sphere of imagination, conditionality, and possibility. In other words, the ghazal begins paradoxically: with the exhaustion ghazal story. We cannot help but to notice another paradox at the same level of metalanguage, which is characteristic for other ghazals as well, particularly, having been, on the one hand, a description of a lyric protagonist's burning longing for a meeting with his lover, the ghazal is geared toward a potential parley even in that it presupposes the existence of the lover, yet at the same time it remains a lyric expression that cannot break off the boundaries of soliloquy or monody.

Let us investigate how the space-time relationship is being built in this ghazal. What concerns the space of the lyric hero, even though initially Navoi does not specify the hero's spatial coordinates apart from the hypothetical ones translated through the time frame ('tong otkuncha') he further builds up the space in the following way: 'chiqdimu ... yulida', 'oydin erkonda', limsa bormukim anga kurganda', in other words, everything is happening as though in the open space. But then the space starts diminishing through 'kuzlaringdan necha suv kelgay', which represents a conditional path to the emptiness, where there is no beloved, 'yuksa kim kuidi qadam', and, at last, the final bayt encloses and embraces all the preceding coordinates by the "house of heart", "the house of soul" - 'kungul uyi'. Now it is possible not to just assume but to conclude that the initial movement has started from this very place, from this space. In other words, the space articulated as external and expanding in terms of the number of coordinates and in terms of spiritual quality (a road - moonlight - separation) turns out to be the inner space of the soul, the space where the beloved did not come. And on the other hand, the initially built space of thought and imagination, where the lyric hero and his beloved co-exist separately, gradually materializes through the universal kimsa (someone), whose existence is hypothetic, conditional, and abstract. Further, this "someone" receives the status of interlocutor, though to the same extent hypothetically personified, after this, he turns into the only 'tolibi sodiq', who does not exist either. But who does exist, it is the poet in his own aloofness, whose salutary aloofness is formally consolidated by tahallus, when he addresses to himself: "Hey, Navoi..." In other words, the estranging name of the poet remains in the negative space of separation, at the cost of which the poet reserves for himself a possibility of another space which goes beyond the text.

Such an understanding of the role and importance of tahallus in this ghazal allows assuming that here these mediating forces (kimsa, tolibi sodiq, etc.) are the functions of the lyrical "I" of the poet in his dimensions: 'I' - 'not I', 'I' - 'single', 'I' - 'particular', 'I' - 'universal'. Thus, here, as in the first case, one can discover duality in the fictitious nature of the reality translated through the details of space (a road - moonlight - people; someone - a loyal beggar - Navoi) contracted into the absolute space of the spirit.

Time in the ghazal is accordingly dual. The very first bayt determines a sort of a time framework 'kecha - tong otkuncha'. Yet, within this framework, time is constructed in the following way: 'lahza - lahza chiqdimu' - 'oydin erkonda' - 'ulgonda korongu' - 'kimsa kurganda' (obviously, not at night) - 'avval qadam quyganda' - 'boda birla hurram et kungul yuin' (apparently, in the evening again). As it can be seen from these time or pseudo-time coordinates, time in the ghazal is sometimes consecutive and linear (kecha - tong), and sometimes again and again returns to the very beginning of the promised date, to the beginning of that 'kelmadi', which goes back and forth within time, sometimes running ahead, sometimes returning to its beginning. This beginning is the very end.

Interestingly, if one constructs the line of actions by the lyric hero from this initial 'kelmadi' ('chiqdimu, chekdim yulida...' - 'yig'ladim' - 'kimsa bormukim anga kurganda' - 'boda birla hurram et kungul uyin') then some consecution can be seen, albeit fictitious and conditional, as it is deprived of time by both time measurements (лахза - лахза) and indirectly by the continuous tense of verbs ('yig'ladim', 'topilmas' 'hurram et'). This consecution comes to a joint continuity, a plane field of the present, put into the circular eternal continuity or the reality of this 'kelmadi' rather than into the framework of the indicated 'kecha - tong otkuncha'.

Time is logic, is determinism, while illogicality of this 'kelmadi' results in the corresponding timeless, non-linear space of feelings. It is also worth mentioning that as a rule, there is determinism, there is time's non-linearity within a bayt, and this is them which prepare a break through the time's one-dimensionality to a certain volume of time. In other words, not coinciding time vectors of individual bayts result in a multidimensional continuum of the state.

Thus, let us note this duality and internal contradictoriness of constructing space and time in the ghazal. What concerns this ghazal's architectonics it has an extremely vivid, skillfully and consistently built composition symmetry which also bears a semantic and general aesthetic load. If one adheres to the cyclical understanding of ghazal composition building with emphasizing the semantic center - 'nukte', as Ya. Ripke argued, then one can notice that bayts are dissymmetrical in terms of the semantic load relative to the fourth bayt, which is central in terms of its architectonic position. Thus, in the third and fifth bayts the main words are body parts (face, eyes), correlating in both cases with the nature (moonlight, water); in the second bayt, as in the eighth one, the main word is "a road", where the lyric hero comes to, and at last, matla'and maqta', as a framework, determine and conclude the ghazal's theme itself: the beloved did not come, neither dream did, but intoxication will come from the waiting itself, as well as from wine, granting joy to the heart. Did not come she, did not come sorrow...

This pair by pair correlation of bayts already shows that along with the semantic and compositional symmetry relative to the central bayt, constructed in an extremely contrasting way:

Ul parvarish hajridankim yig'ladim devonvor,
Kimsa bormukin anga kurganda kulgu kelmadi.

there is also something else, qualitatively different and changing that happens in these pairs of bayts. Thus, for example, a road in the second bayt, which used to be her road, where the lyric hero came to and suffered from waiting, in the eighth bayt became the road of universal absence of both the loyal bagger and the lover, otherwise "that who took the step first would have met the beloved..." Impossibility of taking this step is the very linear culmination of the whole ghazal in the point of its extreme generalization.

In our turn, we can also generalize and say that it might seem that a guiding line of emotional pressure goes through the ghazal's circular composition and becomes distinctly apparent while comparing pairs of symmetrical bayts. Here, a kind of closure takes place, an overlapping of cyclical and linear understandings of forms of ghazal plot formation, but since, like we already said, a plot formation here is imaginary, this imaginary movement of the plot represents just an accumulation of potential energy, a compression or strain of the spiral spring of poetic expression to its culmination limit.

Further, it has to be said in even more general terms, that the contraposition of "I" and "you" - the lyric hero and the beloved - in the ghazal is reflected in all sense - and form making structures of the ghazal. Thus, along with the mentioned, at the meta-language poetic level, this is, for example, the contraposition of logic and meta-logic, represented in the very first line: 'ul sarvi gulru kelmadi'. Along with the mentioned contraposition, it is an inner paradox here: if one reads this expression bearing in mind formal logic, then 'sarvi gulru' - a cypress with a flower-like face - even with all its beauty - should not come. A reading machine would interpret this in the following way: 'trees do not walk'. And from this point of view, the sentence seems to be true. Yet, reading it in a meta-logical way, while wittingly allowing the false character of this 'sarvi gulru', with the same gullibility we are shocked by her deception: 'Kecha kelgumdur debon ul sarvi gulru kelmadi...'. Generally speaking, the theme of meta-logical substitution of one thing for another (which, in the ghazal poetics for the purpose of its own comprehension, has been particularly well developed in the form of the theories of poetic figures and Sufi symbolism) is a separate major topic, but we will briefly elaborate on it a little later. Yet here, at this level, it will be enough just to note this dialectical contraposition.

If one looks at the metrorhythmical level, then a combination of two misras in one bayt with their rhyme pattern - a-a, b-a, c-a, etc. - represents a combination of the variable and the constant, deviations and norms, an absence of a rhyme in the first misras of a bayt and a monorhyme in the second ones. Just in the same fashion, a repetition of redif 'kelmadi' is a combination of the same word with variable surroundings. Each time it is the same 'kelmadi' and each time it is different, revealing its new facets again and again. This type of contrapositions has many names. They can be called the dialectics of dynamic and static, discontinuous and continuous, norm and deviation, canon and improvisation, and so on and so forth, up to extremely generalized philosophical existence and formation.

The same inner contradictoriness while having an external polarity is also continued in the Aruz metrics of the ghazal. Since this theme - Aruz in the Uzbek, or broader, in Turkic poetry - is the subject of another research both already conducted and still to be conducted, we are going to mention only several aspects which are of interest to us. In our opinion, a contradictoriness of the Aruz metrics in Uzbek classical poetry, including the ghazal in question, lies with the fact that initially meant for the quantitative nature of the Arabic language and versification, it was and remains a rather artificial theoretical construction in the qualitative element of the Turkic languages, even though with a significant number of prerequisites for transformed existence. We will explain this with a little example from the ghazal in question, written in the ramali-musanmani-mahzuf meter (o o o o - ).

Here is the first bahr of the second bayt:

Lahza - lahza

One can see that here the same syllable '-za-'in the same word 'lahza' is made equal to sometimes a short and sometimes a long syllable. Is it paradoxically? Sure it is.

In other words, there is no normative fixedness of a certain type of syllables to a certain place in the metric pattern of the Uzbek Aruz. There is one circumstance which is not taken into consideration by scholars who research into the Aruz existence in the Turkic and, in particular, in Uzbek versification, it is namely: a normatively unstable character of the stress in an affix-mode word extension in the Uzbek language.

Ish, ish-chi, ish-chi-lar, ish-chi-lar-i, ish-chi-lar-i-miz, ish-chi-lar-i-miz-da, ish-chi-lar-i-miz-da-gi, ish-chi-lar-i-miz-da-gi-si, etc.

Such a shift of the stress, when an initially stressed syllable turns out to be pre-stressed, then pre-pre-stressed, and so forth, creates extremely broad opportunities for variation in a poem metric organization. While transforming this length into accentuating, this circumstance represents one of the reasons and prerequisites for the Aruz existence in the Uzbek versification. It could be also possible to show an inner duality in other elements of metrorhythmic in this and other ghazals; it could be possible to continue a detailed analysis of poem phonetics by extracting the vowel pattern, and so on and so forth. However, the already cited facts are enough to assume the existence of universal principle, which goes through different-level elements of the ghazal and creates a certain hierarchical and extremely flexible intellectual structure correlating with the fundamentals of human thinking and spiritual activity.

Thus, before we start analyzing Lorca's ghazals, let us summarize again what the oriental ghazal is. Here are its common features:

  1. Ghazal is a universal poetic form. Its universality lies in both its theme diversity and the universal nature of its structure.
  2. The universal nature of the ghazal structure means its stable elements, such as the presence of opposite semantic centers 'I' and 'you' ('she'), their relationship, as well as of the forces facilitating or hindering their relationship, which on one hand represent the model of human activity, and first of all, communication, and on the other - is a kind of the universal literature algorithm, corresponding with appropriate narrative morphology, according to Propp - Bremon.
  3. At the same time, in contrast to the narrative genres, in the ghazal this function (as argued by Propp-Bremon) is conditional and fictitious, since the ghazal is a lyric utterance, and from this point of view it contains an attempt to reach dialogism through a monological means.
  4. Such an attempt expressed through multilevel contrapositions (circular and linear nature of the composition, combination of monorhyme and non-rhyming lines, constancy of redif with the variable nature of a line, enclosed by the redif, contrapositions at the level of poetic figures, language and metrical levels, etc.) is extremely conducive to the creation of emotional strain - the ethos - according to the following scheme: a norm definition - a deviation from it - correction of the deviation;
  5. Multilevel contrapositions, representing a spontaneous dialectics, create an extremely flexible intellectual structure with its form being superficially canonized, and this structure is a possibility to speak about the unreal by means of the real, about the eternal by means of the finite, revealing this technique in itself.

Basing on these theses, it is possible to create a certain model of the classical type ghazal, that 'ground zero' relative to which we intend to examine Garcia Lorca's ghazal structure.

Let us proceed to examinate the ghazals from the 'Divan del Tamarit', while comparing those with the described model of the oriental classical ghazal. Here are the names of Lorca's ghazals: 'About Unexpected Love', 'About Hopeless Love', 'About Love, which Can not See Itself' 'About the Bitter Root', and others. Unfortunately, there is no reliable proof that 'Divan' was composed by Lorca himself, yet some scholars specializing in Spain who read this article wrote sarcastically that apparently Lorca did read the galleys of this work, but in any case, it seems to be very difficult to find the author's composition idea in the order of ghazals' appearance first published under this name after the poet's death. We will adhere to the generally accepted opinion in the Lorca Studies that the ghazals from 'Divan del Tamarit' are mainly dedicated to love, while kasydas - to metaphysical issues of being, and in the framework of this contraposition we will only examine the ghazals.

'Ghazal about Unforeseen Love' is a monorhyme, in terms of strophes it is divided into four quatrains. All five composition or morphological ghazal elements are present here. 'She' is initially defined indirectly through the impossibility of perception, 'non'-perception by others: (first strophe) of her beautiful flesh (a belly, teeth, a forehead, in the moonlight of which thousands of Persian horsemen sleep). Here one should pay attention to the 'twinkling' construction of the image by means of combining color, substantive and hidden sense oppositions: darkness - a belly, a nestling of love - teeth, a moon square - a forehead, and others.

The second quatrain while continuing a kind of wasf -description of the beloved- at the same time links her with the lyric hero, yet this linkage because of the image polysemy ('a thousand Persian horsemen slept on the square with the moon of your forehead) through the opposition 'dream - reality' can be interpreted as both truth and fiction. 'Four nights' - is a detail of the truth, though the comparison of 'the rival of snow' - a waist - with 'the darkness of belly's magnolia' on one hand makes a thousand Persians true and transfers their joining into a dream, while on the other hand the same polysemy attaches to love timelessness put into 'four nights'.

The ghazal technique of parallel contrapositions and contrasts was perfectly mastered by Lorca. Here is the line of contrapositions from the second strophe: a thousand Persians - the lyric hero (many - one), horsemen - a moon square (movement - peace), a square - the moon (top and bottom), slept - hugged (no-action - action), a forehead - a waist (spirit and flesh), a night - snow (black and white), and all these are 'he' and 'she', 'I' and 'you'.

It is also noteworthy that 'nobody' in the first strophe is personified here into 'a thousand Persian horsemen', while the 1001st is the lyric hero himself.

The third strophe continues 'de-incarnating' the image of the beloved thus making her more and more ideal and spiritual. Here is her attributive line emphasized by rhymes: a belly - teeth - a forehead - and at last, a look, which yields in the rhyme, before the lyric hero gives to all of these the status of eternity: forever (siempre).

Here, the plant and creature motifs are already compared in the first strophe (a magnolia - a nestling) against the 'nobody' background, and then are continued in the form of 'gypsum - jasmines - a look', albeit the look itself acquires a plant feature - 'a pale branch' - which according to the transitivity rule is the same for gypsum as for itself: a creature nature or corporeality, searching and giving out from the chest the letters made of ivory which read 'forever'.

In the fourth strophe, this 'forever' becomes the garden of the poet's agony, the white winter garden of the belly's magnolia, the waist which is a rival of snow or snowstorm, jasmines, and a look's pale branches; the garden in which the beloved is de-incarnated and diluted by the 'fleeting body'. At the same time, here it is also possible to interpret the second line - 'your fleeting body is forever' - in two ways: both 'fleeting forever' and 'a body forever'. A nestling of love being suffered from teeth gave eternal fleetingness to the whole body of the beloved. In this white garden, the poet and his beloved is united 'forever' at the cost of non-existence, and this is different life, which is in the same way different for the hitherto white color - the red color of blood and lips, hungering for this 'forever' as for a spring: 'blood of your veins is on my lips, your lips are without light to my death'. It is a kiss of blood and emptiness, existence and non-existence, which is the very eternity.

Thus, from this brief analysis of Lorca's first ghazal one can conclude that almost all attributes of the classical ghazal technique were retained by him. This is a pure lyric, monological utterance, in which it happens only once that the right of other voice is granted to ivory letters, like Adam's rib, in order to utter the world 'forever' from the poet's chest. Both main semantic poles of the ghazal -'he' and 'she'- divided by an insurmountable separation, are presented here in the same way as other traditional powers, as adversarial ones: a thousand mounted Persians, initially given in the form of 'nobody', while they themselves are also facilitating forces, which reveal, like a mirror, poignancy, beauty and eternity of the beloved. Lorca fully observes the mentioned contrast, inherent in all ghazal elements. This can be proved by the above cited oppositions, out of which the main one, as anything which synthesizes in itself all the previous, is not only an opposition but also a unity. These are Love and Death, the typological features of Lorca's works.

The ghazal doomed to impossibility to overcome the distance between 'I' and 'you' by any other means but memory in the past, imagination in the future, and death in the present, makes this 'forever', embracing all the times, sweet and ominous, desirable and poignant. Such is love: unforeseen, unpredictable, by its every atom immortalizing itself to immediately destroy, and destroying to immortalize...

So what does Lorca change in the traditional ghazal's structure?

In terms of the form, his ghazal is written not by bayts, but by four quatrains, while in terms of composition -the arrangement of poetic material- it embraces in itself the forms of ghazal and sonnet (or even broader -sonata). Thus, the first strophe presets the theme of the unknowable perfection of the beloved and love torments relating to this. At the same time, in contrast to the classical ghazal, potentially adversarial powers are presented here in their non-existence ('nobody').

The second strophe further develops the theme, while personifying these 'nobody' and 'nestling of love', as well as transferring the relationship from the sphere of the conditional-negative into the magic field of Persian fairytales and fiction, and then - to the reality of four nights with the beloved. One phrase 'your waist - a rival of snow' is worth all the preceding descriptions, assuming the following: a rival in terms of color (either blinding white, whiter than snow, or adversarial to the darkness, albeit twinkling anyway); a rival in terms of heat (cold snow); in terms of conceivable position (snow laying or falling in the open space); in terms of integrity, eternity; and so on.

The third strophe -of a scherzo type- has an antithesis, which is the ghazal's auj -the climax. Here, for the first time the beloved acquires integrity, and this integrity, composed of all the preceding parts, is equal to the culminating 'forever', and vice versa, her image starts to get de-incarnated, first by mentioning the breast, and further, in the fourth strophe, lips and death of the lyric hero. There is another reason why it is an antithesis: in sensual, carnal sensations appears the second reality of signs -the immortalizing ivory letters. Having killed a living feeling and translated it into signs, it is possible to find this 'forever' in the chest.

The fourth, final, strophe concludes the composition. The image of the beloved again falls apart into a body, blood, veins and lips, but now a nestling of love is dead in these lips, as the torn garden is dying in the agony of spirit.

And at last, a traditional appeal to a cupbearer, who gives soothing vine, is replaced here by blood from the veins of the beloved, who was left behind in that 'forever'. The last kiss is already a kiss of death, and tahallus, or the name of that whose lips touched her veins, can not be affixed anymore.

If now, we generally compare this Lorca's ghazal with Navoi's one, then the difference in solving the same poetic task becomes even more evident. First of all, in terms of the author or the lyric hero, Navoi's utterance is addressed to two addressees; to the external multitude and to himself. Lorca's utterance is addressed to the beloved. This is a dramatic meditation of its kind. At the same time, it is worth mentioning that almost all ghazals from "Divan of Tamarit" are written this way, using the technique of direct address.

While in Navoi's case, a tragic nature of the situation is determined by the initial aloofness of the beloved, Lorca's tragedy lies in an appeal which does have the addressee, but does not have an answer. While in Navoi's works 'I' is present in all bayts, but the sixth, when it is replaced by that very 'nobody' of Lorca, in Lorca's works the lyric 'I' is mentioned much less often. An attitude of the beloved seems to be more important for him, than an attitude towards the beloved, as is in Navoi's works. Even though Lorca's almost entire ghazal is dedicated to the description of the beloved, and almost the same can be said about Navoi's ghazal, orientations of these descriptions are opposite. Lorca seems to be speaking about perfection of his beloved, the beloved herself, while Navoi tortures himself with this beloved. Lorca gives a detailed description of the beloved. Navoi outlines her by two or three sketches while concentrating on his own feelings. In other words, there is a kind of extravert and introvert ways of expression here.

Another difference between the authors' position is that while in Navoi's case despair results from 'not coming' of the beloved, in Lorca's case this despair is the result of her leaving; while in Navoi's case the beloved is put in the space of imagination, in Lorca's case she is in the space of the lyric hero's memory. Looking at the past, Navoi leaves future for the hope, while Lorca extends the same past to the eternity. In other words, in the first case, perception of time is intermittent, while in the latter it is integrative, yet on the other hand, while Navoi's time is continuing, Lorca's time closes and stops, generating this 'for ever' in the moment of death.

And at last, as far as mediating forces are concerned, Lorca presets them from the very beginning, and if though from the universal 'nobody' these forces through the personification in one thousand Persian horsemen transform into the only one 'fleeting' alienable beloved. In the end, the poet is left face to face with his love and death. What concerns Navoi, he first builds up the space of thought, where the poet and his beloved coexist separated, and only after that, in the fourth bayt, exactly in the middle of the ghazal, 'someone' appears whose existence, just like in Lorca's case, is hypothetic, and therefore abstract and universal. This 'someone' then acquires the status of interlocutor, though to the same extent hypothetically personified, and then he turns into the only 'demander of loyalty', who does not exist either. Who does exist in his own aloofness is the poet only, whose aloofness is consolidated with the help of tahallus, when he addressed to himself 'Hey, Navoi'. Such an understanding of the role and importance of tahallus in the ghazal allows assuming that here these very mediating forces are nothing but functions of the lyric 'I' of the poet in the dimensions 'I - not I', 'I - single', 'I - specific', and 'I - universal'.

The traced trends even though having different techniques in terms of versification and setting, are nevertheless rather similar than different, and in peculiar way use the richness of the ghazal poetics, although, as was mentioned earlier, these differences can be investigated in terms of evolution-and-typology.

At the same time, while not granting 'the right of voice' to the other pole of the ghazal, both these works remain in the limits of monodic, mono-logical way of thinking, with its endlessly rich variation of a few similar-type elements of the perceiving and self-expressing 'I'.

Through the more or less detailed analysis of Lorca's first ghazal, we prepared a certain foundation for investigating the poetics of the ghazals of 'Divan del Tamarit' as a whole.

The second ghazal 'About Terrible Presence' is set using the 'Mesnevi' technique, i.e. a two-line rhyming. In this ghazal, the poet thirsts for, and can see all the fantastic, other-worldly that turn into these very conditions of ghazal morphology, and only refuses to look at the nakedness of his beloved, preferring the anguish of dark planets to her. If one considers this ghazal a compositional continuation of the first one, then this is the poet's look from the other world, from the eternal darkness, and if to compare this with semantics of the classical ghazal, the lyric hero himself rejects a meeting with the beloved, but he rejects this meeting willing to retain the beloved in the bounds of the earthly world, to retain her living, out of death.

The third ghazal 'About Hopeless Love' continues this compositional movement. In it, are dead both he and she, both lyric heroes of the ghazal. This ghazal is a linearly symmetrical three-element form of oppositions.

  1. 'Night (day, night and day) does not want to come, since you did not come and I could not come'
  2. 'But I will come, though...'
  3. 'But you will come...'

This is a variation of redif of the ghazal, its invariable part. And only for the last time, there are no second and third parts of this composition, since both he and she are dead for each other. What do change are the conditions of coming:

  1. his: 'though the sun of scorpion will bite my temple', 'meeting my dead carnation at the toads' place' for coming of the night and day;
  2. her: 'with the tongue burnt by a salt rain', 'muddy cesspools of darkness'.

Constant surrealism of this variable part boosts the timelessness of what is happening or is present.

If to compare this ghazal with that of Navoi, then it is obvious that Lorca deprives time of all its ways out, but the negative current: neither a night, nor a day. This is indeed time of nonexistence of love, time with the negative sign, representing a necessary part of eternity. Hence it can be concluded that only love gives an impetus to time, only in love there are nights and days, and that it is the overcoming of timelessness of death.

These illogical conditions expressed through a variable part of the ghazal are the very attempt to hope for love, the attempt which is extinguished by a dead structure, yet out of this structure, out of day and night, it can not exist.

The next ghazal too is based on the same forming principle which is a combination of partly invariable strophe - redif, repeated trice, and two same-type bayts about Grenada, which is compared with the moon sunk in oranges, and a weathercock rose. A refrain has the following form: 'Only to hear the bell of Vela...', and in three cases three different actions are mentioned:

  1. I plaited verbena into your wreath
  2. Cut down a garden in Cartahena

  3. Embraced your body being not aware whose body it was

Indeed, there is a secret thesis in these three actions: an antithesis and synthesis of both premises. Combined with the Vela bell's striking and comparisons of Granada at first with the moon that is immovable and undistinguishable in oranges, and then with a whirling weathercock rose, and a chamois, this variable represents implantation of all the mentioned into an elusive body; breathing into this imperceptible body of love. After all, this body is both the bell of Vela and Granada - the moon, a rose, and the beloved.

The next ghazal - 'About the dead child' - as well as two others - 'About dark death' and 'About escape' - stay somewhat aloof in this love cycle. All three ghazals, mixed with love works, are about a boy's death. If one does not consider them adjacent to casydas of 'Divan', then they should be regarded as Lorca's work on one of the ghazal's semantic poles, namely the soul of the lyric hero. At the same time, looking through the general composition of the 'Divan del Tamarit' ghazal part, one can notice that there is no sensual eroticism which the cycle started with. Love seems to be gradually overcoming its sensuality while acquiring more spirituality. Moreover, a living love seems to be out of the 'Divan' limits, but rather in its pre-existing, in those 'four preceding nights' the memory of which 'Divan' itself represents. Yet, we will elaborate on this later.

At this point, going back to 'The Ghazal about the Dead Child', it is noteworthy that this ghazal is about love and separation with that who himself should have loved, in other words, this is a love of love, a second order love, if to perceive this ghazal in the composition context outlined by us above. Indeed, if the dead boy is replaced with the beloved, then all semantic and forming elements will correspond with the traditional ghazal morphology.

In terms of composition, this ghazal, as well as the first one in 'Divan', is built upon a combination the ghazal and sonata forms. The theme is preset in the first strophe: 'Every evening in Granada dies a child, and water sits down to talk to his friend'. The second strophe further develops the theme: firstly, by turning these 'friends' into dead algae with wings; secondly, by continuing this impossible flight in another sphere by means of two winds - cloudy and fresh, two pheasants flying towards the towers (are not they weathercocks?), and thirdly, by incarnating, or, to be more precise, de-incarnating a lost boy (not a child anymore!) into a lost day. The third strophe is antithetic and leaves in the air 'not a bit of the lark when I met you in the caves of wine'. Here, for the first time the lyric hero appears with his direct address. 'Not a bit of cloud is also left on the earth when you drowned in the river'. There is no this flight anywhere, neither in the sky nor on the earth. This correlation of the lyric hero looking in the water and the drowned child is like a mirror multiplied by preceding oppositions thus outlining an image of Narcissus who looks at himself in the water and mourns over his own reflection drowned in his tears...

The fourth strophe synthesizes in itself everything: a crashing flight - 'a demon of water crashes down on the mountains', the death of the drowned, like a hill surrounded by dogs and lilies; a dead day drowned in the palm's violet shadow; and ice not floating in water but lying on the beach like a dead archangel. The same way comes the night without a mirror, such as the love without her beloved and him beloved who died while being a boy, such as time drowned in its own reflection.

'The Ghazal about the Bitter Root' continues the theme of love. Being a monorhyme written mainly in the form of distich, this ghazal seems to be maintaining the tradition, yet, at the same time, this is one of Lorca's most peculiar in terms of the poetic composition. There are no traditional poles here, no traditionally presented colorful images, and no other attributes of the ghazal technique. There is the bitterest root here, the statement of existence of which is mixed with the parallel existence of the world of thousand terraces and the sky of thousand windows. And there is also a door of water, which can not be opened even by a small hand. This image line gives a proof of the linkage between this ghazal and preceding ones ('The Ghazal about the Dead Child'), and seems to continue a through composition line of 'Divan' by taking love even deeper - into the very root of its existence.

It is only in the last bayt that we come to know that this bitter root is the root of love, and that a face looking inside is flowing down to it. This last bayt turns inside out elements of the ghazal morphology: 'Love, my foe, nibble your bitter root!'

A foe, an enemy, and a rival turns out to be the love itself, as bitter as that root, which in a rondo-like manner sprouts throughout the whole ghazal. By falling back into place everything in this ghazal discovers its bitter root - a bitter love.

The seventh ghazal in 'Divan del Tamarit' - 'About memories of love' - is entirely preset by its name. If one adheres to the assumption that 'Divan' is compositionally integral, then the twice repeated bayt in this ghazal - 'I am separated from the dead by the wall of bad dreams' - transfers that love, where both died, from the sensual corporeality into the space of memories, like into 'the tremble of white cherry in the throes of January' or like into 'a gypsum heart with the lily's complaints in it'. The live and the dead are separated by the wall of dreams, where the eyes turn into dogs guarding that wall...

But here the fog comes in the silence to cover a grey hill of the body of the beloved, and suddenly the wall turns into a yawning emptiness, which the poet asks to leave as a memory in his chest, making a going away road of the beloved easier with the help of at least this emptiness...

When the death takes away love and the beloved leaving under the arc of meeting a cup of water hemlock, is not the love to that, even though deadly, which remained a memory of the beloved, less powerful than the fear of death? 'But leave your memory, leave it only in my chest'. Thus love to death wins over the horror of death.

And in support of this thorough theme elaboration, the next ghazal is called 'The Ghazal about the Dark Death'. There is no image of the beloved, there is only a child who thirsts for tearing apart his heart in an ancient sea, the child the sleep of whom the poet wants to sleep. He wants to sleep that sleep in order to comprehend the mystery of that dawn compassion for crying which filled up the whole earth, the mystery of primitive love in order to live with this dark boy, who wanted to tear apart his heart in the ancient sea of crying and love.

The ninth ghazal of the cycle - 'The Ghazal about the Miraculous Love' - in terms of its form represents an example of Lorca's passion for a music-like strict compositional technique with the use of parallelisms both direct and charismatic ones. The strophe pattern of the ghazal is as follows: 3-3-2-2, while the first strophe is rhymed with the third one, and the second with the fourth. Two first strophes have the identical syntactic structure: 'with all the gypsum/ of poor fields/ you are the reed of love, the dewy jasmine//' and 'with the wind and flame/of the poor skies/ you are the rustle of snow in my chest//'.

Who is 'you' here? Is it a flower, a plant, the beloved, or the whole world, like love? Or is it an impossibility and miracle of the dewy jasmine occurrence as well as of snow rustle? Two next bayt strophes - 'Skies and fields/ put fetters on my hands//' and 'Field and skies/ lash sores of my body//' - are parallel in the same way and correlate relative to the rhyme 1-3, 2-4. They emphasize the impossibility and unattainability both of jasmine or love reed for the fettered hands and of healing wounds under the snow rustle. And this impossibility and unattainability embrace in themselves both skies and the earth. Yet, a sprout of love is growing, is not it a miracle?!

There is no traditional ghazal distribution of powers, but the ghazal spirit does exist here, which grew into a reed out of a bitter root. If to assume that love here is inspired to the highest degree, to the invisibility, but at the same time the whole world with all its skies and fields, snow and wind, flames and flowers is dissolved in love, then is not it a miracle of a small ghazal?

The next ghazal - 'The Ghazal about the Escape' - is linked to the two previous ghazals about a child's death. There is an irregularly repeated refrain here - 'I many times was lost in several infants' hearts'. This refrain joins together the whole image line of the ghazal: the cut flowers, and the tongue, full of love and agony; the night, deadly stripping, the rose, looking for skull hills, and the human hand repeating a root underground. All the key images are present, but the beloved, but is not it the escape which gave the name to the ghazal? Death lurks in all the mentioned. Faceless it has many faces, and therefore not mentioning the beloved is like warding off a fire from a nest, it is like a child who does not know of her death - 'Overcoming water, I go looking for death of a ray, which exhausts'. Such is a high light of indescribable love.

'The Ghazal about the One-hundred-year-old Love' is built upon playing with a consistently decreasing denominative refrain 'Ah'. 'Go up the street four cavaliers, ah, ah, ah. Come back down the street three cavaliers, ah, ah, ah. Show their build two cavaliers, ah, ah. As one cavalier turns and it is a wind! Ah! Now no one walks on the nooks'. Such is a deadly power of love. It is both on that end of the street, from where no one returns, and on that end, where one remains more than just lonely, but devastated.

And finally, it is the last ghazal in 'Divan del Tamarit' - 'The Ghazal about the Morning Market'- which synthesizes the problems of almost all preceding ghazals of the cycle. Anyhow, before turning to its analysis, one should assume that 'Divan' of the ghazals itself is built according to the rules of ghazal composition, when the first ghazal plays a role of matlaa, or a setout, while the last one plays a role of maqtaa, or a finale and denouement.

Thus, in terms of formal characteristics of the ghazal, in this poem redif is emphasized, yet it is variable. On the one hand, the ghazal is all rhymed, and on the other - it is not a monorhyme; on the one hand, the rhyme is of an assonance type, even though according to the Spanish versification rules, 'Elvira' and 'crystal', for example, are considered a rhyme, and on the other - it is a rhyme of a consonance type. Such a synthesis of mutually exclusive opposite tendencies, developed in the ghazals of the cycle, is also a characteristic of the substance level of the last ghazal. 'Divan del Tamarit' which began with de-incarnation of the corporal, and at first exposed the extremely spiritual, and then the empty, returns here in the opposite way: it is enough to compare the variable parts in thrice-repeated refrain - redif (which are namely 'for learning what your name is', 'for drinking off your eyes', and at last 'for feeling your hips') in order to notice increasing corporeality and carnality of the image. Yet, in all three cases the result is the same - 'and to leave crying', or to be more precise, 'to start crying'.

As far as two intermediate strophes are concerned, they are six-line ones with regular syntax: here each sentence is equal exactly to one bayt, i.e. two lines, and while in the first strophe all three sentences are interrogative, in the second, they all are exclamatory. Yet, the tendency to synthesize can be even seen in keeping the construction of both interrogative and exclamatory sentences of the same type. 'What moon gray again froze your cheeks?' and 'What a voice, as my punishment, is rising above the market!'

In other words, this ghazal is a perfectly balanced composition. All the questions are addressed to the nameless beloved, while the exclamations unite the beloved and the lyric hero within the limits of one utterance, yet it is also paradoxical: 'How far I am while standing with you; how close - when you leave'. Is not it this line which explains the whole cycle of ghazals, as if they exist in the space and time after four nights of embraces and to the feeling of hips under Elvira's arc, i.e. out of the corporal, but in love which becomes more and more inspired: from the love-desire through the despairing love, the love inconceivable and bitter, to the love as a recollection, to the love as death, and nevertheless, by its miracle, the love reviving and resurrecting to life at the very edge of its existence through its spirituality.

'How far I am with you, how close when you leave'- here is the synthesizing maqtaa of this ghazal and of all the ghazal cycle from 'Divan del Tamarit'.

It could be possible to analyze in detail each of Lorca's ghazals starting with the phonetic instruments and ending with the use of poetical figures, but it is more important for us to single out 'Divan''s conceptual base which one way or another is expressed in all elements of the ghazal structure. This can be seen quite clear from the generalized analysis of the Cycle.

Speaking of that base, one can not help mentioning another great poet of Andalusia - Arabic-speaking Ibn-Hazm and, first of all, his main work 'The Ring of the Dove', a medieval love tractate. Will remind briefly that in this tractate Ibn-Hazm tries, in his own words, to investigate the roots of love (remember Lorca's ghazal about the bitter root); it is about accidents of love, which (accidentias in the author's words) would be more correctly to translate as manifestations of love and its qualities, both praiseworthy and blameworthy, about miseries of love, out of which the highest one is separation, oblivion, and death.

Even this brief mentioning of 'The Ring of the Dove' is sufficient to prove the similarity of problems in the Cycle in question and the tractate. It is worth mentioning that the whole 'Divan del Tamarit', the second part of which, consisting of kasydas, we did not investigate, ends with the kasyda "About the Dark Doves'. And this very kasyda, which is quite closely related to the ghazal cycle of 'Divan', tells apart love in the understandings of Ibn-Hazm and his compatriot Garcia Lorca. While in Ibn-Hazm's tractate the dove is the symbol of love itself and its voluptuousness, Lorca's two doves symbolize two faces of Nothing - The Love and The Death.

A correlation between 'Divan del Tamarit' and 'The Ring of the Dove' allows better understanding of the mentioned above idea of a spiral-type composition of the whole 'Divan'; the composition which expresses on the one hand the steps of love and on the other - underlines self-worthiness and self-adequacy of each of them. After all, each of the steps of love carries in itself, according to Lorca, its death...

And finally, this correlation allows recognizing in their foundations an artistic interpretation of Sufi philosophical elaborations, which in great detail distinguished various steps of human states and, in a mystified form, comprehended the dialectics of individual and social consciousness. After all, love in Sufism is both a means and a target for comprehending the Absolute. And the steps, such as anxiety, affection, patience, confidence, ecstasy, and dilution in the Absolute, all correlate with Lorca's series of steps. Another aspect, which we could examine separately, is an interpretation of Sufi concepts or archetypes, as it could be put nowadays, in Lorca's 'Divan', since, as we already mentioned while speaking of a classical ghazal, each term in it means not only itself but something deeper and more abstract or symbolic. Thus, a face of the beloved is the world, the beauty of the Absolute, a lock fallen on this face is the accidental world with its accidents, wine is the mystical intoxication in the unity with the Absolute, a cupbearer or a bay giving a cup is that who took the road, and so on and so forth. 'Divan del Tamarit' is also built upon these classical elements of the ghazal poetics, but their Sufi archetype interpretation is the subject of another research.

At this point, it will be enough to cite the words of great Hafiz who said that 'that man is a man of prophecy, for whom a hint is enough, there are lots of wisdom in this world, but where is the confidant of mysteries?' Then we will add that Garcia Lorca is this very confidant of mysteries who with his inherent genius responsiveness mastered the world of the classical oriental versification and peculiar features of such its universal form as the ghazal, and in his works he further developed Hafiz, Navoi, Dehlevi, and Jami's traditions by synthesizing their techniques with those of the most modern Western literature, yet this is another question.

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Actualizado el 24/07/2004
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