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granada la bella blog

About this blog

Here you will find my personal view about selected events relating to Granada, 'the city where anything is possible', Granada, 'la bella y la bestia', and particularly about the city's uneasy relationship with its greatest son, Federico Garcia Lorca, who alternatively loved and loathed it.

Poemas inéditos de Tomás Segovia

poetry Posted on Sun, December 19, 2010 01:53:07

A veces pienso desoladamente

Que es en la vida misma

Es en su limpia página

Donde se me derrama el borrón de la muerte

Pero miro allá abajo

Donde luce el frescor recién vertido

En el cuenco frugal de la mañana

A los perros nerviosamente alegres

Que en mi lugar y en nombre mío

Retozan entre sí

Tan exhibicionistamente vivos

Y sé que hay todavía cosas

Que hay que aprender a poner en su sitio.

– Dated 21 Sep 08

Lo único que siempre he sabido hacer bien

No es hacer

Es no mover un músculo

Dejar quieta la lengua

Cuidarme mucho de no ir a hacer ruido

De que no se me escape un gongorismo

Quedarme inmóvil para no estorbar

Y dejar que se vaya hinchando

Enriqueciendo impacientando

Algo que sin remedio va a decirse

Y que revienta al fin trayendo entre nosotros

Con emoción pero sin susto

Y por supuesto silenciosamente

Una innegable detonación de luz.

– Dated 21 Sep 08

Lo que quisiera yo es subirme a las ramas

Y sin que lo notaran

Meterme entre las hojas más menudas

Para espiar lo que se están diciendo

Entre sí tan en secreto

Y llevármelo a casa en la memoria

Para decírmelo a mí mismo luego

Con picardía pero sin malicia.

– Dated 21 Sep 08

A lo lejos la noche masculla su tormenta

Esa pululación de tenues fogonazos

Y ese apagado desgranar de truenos

Visiblemente traman alcanzarnos

La tormenta galopa hacia nosotros

Con lentitud de sueño

Y tal vez se desmaye antes de haber llegado

Pero cómo negar si nos alcanza

Que mientras dura su impulsivo abrazo

Es también ella una gran casa

En la que caben nuestras casas.

– Dated Night of the 21-22 sep 08

Poems by Tomás Segovia – my translations

poetry Posted on Sun, December 19, 2010 01:25:38

At times I think desolately

That it is on life itself

On its clean page

that the blot of death is spilt

But I look down there

at the recently tipped freshness

resplendent in the frugal morning bowl

For the nervously cheerful dogs

Which in my stead and in my name

Frolic about

So exhibitionistically alive

And I know there are still things

That I have to learn how to put in their place.


The only thing that I’ve always known how to do well

Is not to do

Is not to move a muscle

Let the tongue be still

Take great care not to go and make a noise

From which a gongorismo might slip out

Remain motionless so as not to get in the way

And let something which is inevitably going to be said

Swell up growing richer and more impatient

And in the end burst bringing forth

Excitingly but not frighteningly

And of course silently

An undeniable explosion of light.


What I would like to do is climb up to the branches

And without anyone noticing

Get in among the smallest leaves

To eavesdrop on what they are saying

Among themselves so secretly

And take it home with me in my memory

To say it to myself then

With mischievous but not malicious intent.


In the distance the night mutters its storm

That proliferation of faint flashes

And that muffled threshing of thunder

Are visibly plotting to reach us

The storm gallops towards us

In dreamlike slow motion

And perhaps it loses heart before arriving

But who can deny that if it reaches us

That while its impulsive embrace lasts

It is itself a great house

With room for all our houses.


Granada, capital of Spain

Historic Granada Posted on Sun, December 19, 2010 01:10:10

Granada, short-lived capital of Spain … and the Holy Roman Empire

On the threshold of the sixteenth century Granada was the transitory capital of Spain. Ferdinand and Isabel set up court in Granada towards the end of 1499 while the Mudejar rebellion was being put down. ‘Mudejar’ is the name given to those Moors who remained in Christian Spain after the Fall of Granada in 1492 without converting to Christianity. At first tolerated, by the end of the millennium they were under a lot of pressure to convert. (See the blog on book burning.)

Ferdinand and Isabel stayed in Granada until February 1502. It was their longest and last period of residence in the city. Before leaving, one of their major acts was the issuing of a decree – on 11 February 1502 – demanding the remaining Mudejar Moors to choose between conversion and exile; either they adopt over a period of time Christian beliefs and customs or they leave for Africa and beyond. Almost half the population of Granada chose exile it is said. From the date of that decree there was no room for Moslem Moors in Spain any longer, only for ‘Moriscos’, Moors who had converted to the Christian faith.

The Royal Court returned to Granada for a short time in the summer of 1526, when Emperor Charles V decided to make Granada his place of residence. This was just after his wedding on 10 March in Seville to his first cousin Isabel of Portugal. During his brief stay he ordered the construction of his Royal Palace, more comfortable and more spacious and more majestic than the nearby Nazrid Palaces of the Alhambra. For this, he chose the architect Pedro Machuca, who had worked under Michelangelo in Italy, to design one of the greatest works of the Spanish Renaissance, unprecedented in its architectural language. Symbolising the victory of Christianity over Islam, it was largely paid for by taxes imposed on the Moorish population.

It is clear that in ordering the construction of this emblematic and superbly designed palace, on which work started in the following year, 1527, the Emperor intended to make Granada his main seat of residence, the centre of his Holy Roman Empire. Yet Emperor Charles and his queen abandoned the city in December of 1526. It was too cold for Isabella’s warm Portuguese blood is the explanation popularly given. But I think there was another reason.

In November of 1525, Carlos V had issued a decree ordering the conversion of all the Moors in Spain by the end of January 1526. What? Again? But hadn’t his grandparents, Ferdinand and Isabel, issued practically the same decree in February 1502?

Over time the term ‘morisco’ had come to be used in a pejorative sense, implying that the conversion of Moors to Catholicism was a pretence and that in secret they were continuing to practice the Islam religion. In 1526 Carlos V was complaining that ‘seven and twenty years’ after the mass enforced baptisms undertaken by Cardinal Cisneros (see book burning blog) you would be hard put to find seven and twenty Christian Moors in the city, ‘nor even seven’! The Moorish population that remained in Granada had proved itself highly reluctant to take on the conquerors’ faith.

So, apart from the winter cold, Granada had the added inconvenience for a city that was to be the centre of the Habsburgian Holy Roman Empire of having a population that was largely anti-Christian in its secret sentiment.

The expulsion of the Moors led to the steady cultural decline of Granada, so lamented by Lorca and the core of contemporary ‘progressive’ Spansh opinion. Charles V’s decree was no more successful than his grandparents’ in christianising the Moors left behind on Spanish territory. The repressive legislation was repeated in 1567 and the revolt that began on Christmas Eve of 1568 in Granada, with its last stronghold in the Alpujarras, was suppressed, leading to the final ethnic cleansing of the peninsula. Thousands of Moors died and more than 80,000 were expelled forever.

Orson Welles and Charlton Heston in Granada

Federico Garcia Lorca Posted on Sun, December 19, 2010 00:55:30

When Orson Welles and Charlton Heston met in Granada to make a film about the death of Lorca…

It’s true. Orson Welles was in Granada in September 1960 researching a film he was working on about the death of Federico García Lorca. With a 16 mm camera he filmed in the Huerta de San Vicente, in Víznar, and in the caves in Guadix. You can see the footage he shot in Guadix for his unfinished film Don Quixote on You Tube (

On 17 September that year Charlton Heston arrived in Granada to pursue the project with the acclaimed avant-garde filmmaker. The two of them discussed Lorca with Lord Mayor of Granada, Manuel Sola Rodríguez-Bolívar.

One thing they needed was a good script. Rodríguez-Bolívar apparently put them in touch with an Austrian who at that time was supposed to be writing Lorca’s biography. (I don’t know who’s being referred to here. Ian Gibson of course didn’t come on the scene till a few years later.)

Then Heston left for Madrid to start filming El Cid. Welles stayed in Granada to work on his Lorca project. What happened to the project is not known. Welles unorthodox way of working involved a number of such unfinished projects. And I guess the Austrian did not deliver a decent script.

The Granada visit of the two Hollywood heavyweights was of course recorded in the papers. There was an article in Ideal with photos, and Patria published an interview in which Heston spoke of his admiration for Lorca’s theatre, which was at the time highly regarded in the USA.

All the information for this blog is taken from Gabriel Pozo Felguera in Granada Hoy, 17 August 2010.

“We give up!”

Lorca disappearing and death Posted on Sun, December 19, 2010 00:39:05

The search for Lorca’s remains is off again, one year after the digging at Alfacar failed to reveal anything of significance

Reliable witnesses reported that Lorca was shot and buried alongside the anarchist bullfighters Francisco Galadí y Joaquín Arcollas and socialist schoolteacher Dióscoro Galindo one August morning in 1936 on the road between Viznar and Alfacar. Last year, at the request of descendents of Francisco Galadí and Dióscoro Galindo, a search was started to find their burial place. It was unsuccessful and now the search has been permanently called off.

“We did all we could and now the case is being shelved,” announced Juan Gallo of the Association for the Recovery of the National Collective Memory. The place pointed out by gravedigger Manuel Castilla – ‘Manolo the Communist’ – which I have showed to scores of Lorca admirers over the last 20 years – turned out to be … a dead end. The excavation hit solid rock immediately beneath the surface. Impossible for anything or anyone to have been buried there!

Even so, the descendents of Galadí and Galindo are not giving up. “That nothing was found after all those years waiting is tremendously disappointing,” says Francisco Galadí, grandson of the murdered bullfighter, “but he must be there somewhere, within a radius of perhaps 15 or 20 metres”.

Nieves García is of the same opinion. “Of course we’ll go on looking for my granddad (Dióscoro Galindo). I’m sure he’s in that area, very close by.” Lorca researcher Ian Gibson shares their resolution. “It was a big mistake not extending the area of the search.” Gibson suggests the poet’s remains could be just a few metres away, among the pine trees that were planted in the 1950s to hide the mass graves. Neither does he rule out the possibility that a pact was made between the Franco regime and Lorca’s family for the poet’s remains to be secretly returned to them in exchange for their silence. The family has always been vehemently opposed to the search.*

Poor Gibson, who has done so much to discover the truth about Lorca’s disappearance. At the age of 71 he now fears that the agony of uncertainty will accompany him to his own grave! I share something of this obsession myself.

Source: NATALIA JUNQUERA – Madrid – 18/12/2010 El Pais.

* Since then, it needs to be added, Gibson says he takes Laura Garcia-Lorca’s word for it that such a deal was never done and is quite simply inconceivable.