Cuando sale la luna

This is an atmospheric poem from Lorca about the feelings and sensations experienced when out at night under the moonlight. I guess poems about the moon are quite commonplace, but this has some quite nice imagery and language. I think it successfully evokes a certain unease and strangeness when day turns to night and the moon replaces the sun.

Federico García Lorca

La luna asoma


Cuando sale la luna
se pierden las campanas
y aparecen las sendas
Cuando sale la luna,
el mar cubre la tierra
y el corazón se siente
isla en el infinito.
Nadie come naranjas
bajo la luna llena.
Es preciso comer
fruta verde y helada.
Cuando sale la luna
de cien rostros iguales,
la moneda de plata
solloza en el bolsillo.

From <;

This is a short poem, and it immediately situates the context of when the moon comes out. And when the moon comes out the normal signposts are lost – the bells stop ringing and pathways become difficult. The second stanza deepens this theme with the effect on the poet – under the moon it looks like the land is covered by sea, and the sense of solitude and isolation increases.

There follows the interesting notion that nobody eats oranges under the moon, only cold, green fruit. This is probably a reference to Lorca’s local context as Andalusia in southern Spain is an orange-growing region, and clearly the poet associates oranges with the sun and heat of the day.

The final stanza brings another note of melancholy to the atmosphere – all its faces are the same, and silver coins weep in the purse. Poetic language of course, but it conveys a sense of unease and disorientation, which has been building up throughout the poem of night time under the moon as being vaguely disturbing and strange. This is the moonlight perhaps of the horror movie rather than of the romantic escapade.

The Poetry Dude


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