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This article is taken from PN Review 240, Volume 44 Number 4, March - April 2018.

Translator’s Notebook VI: From Glasgow to Granada (ed. James McGonigal) Edwin Morgan

ON 28 SEPTEMBER 1968, in a letter to Robert Tait, his co-editor on a recently-founded cultural journal Scottish International, Edwin Morgan referred to a translation from Lorca that he had himself submitted for consideration:

I can see you don’t believe that Lorca really wrote that wee poem! He did though – and perhaps that’s why he was murdered too. You know the theory that there are people who attract murder, as there are those that attract accidents, or fires, or cats… For a short poem, it has an extraordinary insight into the ‘ultimately perilous’ moment, especially as it is not wholly naturalistic. Lorca is one man I would like to know a great deal about.

Here is that wee poem:

MURDER
Two Voices at Dawn in Riverside Drive, New York

How did it –?
– Scratch on the cheek,
– that’s all. Claw
– pouncing on a green
– shoot. Pin plunging
– to meet the roots of the scream.
– And the sea stops moving.
– But how – how?
– Like this.
– Get away from me! That way?
– Sure. The heart
– went out alone.
– Oh no, oh god –

The list of holograph poems in the Morgan Papers in Glasgow University Library1 dates this translation to 24 September 1968. Morgan must have finished it and sent it off immediately to Scottish International. The ...


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