The guitar, by Federico García Lorca

I have written about the difficulty of translating poetry elsewhere; I have been struggling with this well known poem of García Lorca seemingly forever. Last night, just as I was drifting off to sleep (of course!), it all came together. It is not a faithful, verbatim translation, but it is what I think works.  Here it is, first in the original Spanish, then my translation.  See what you think:

La guitarra

Empieza el llanto
de la guitarra.
Se rompen las copas
de la madrugada.
Empieza el llanto
de la guitarra.
Es inútil
Es imposible
Llora monótona
como llora el agua,
como llora el viento
sobre la nevada.
Es imposible
Llora por cosas
Arena del Sur caliente
que pide camelias blancas.
Llora flecha sin blanco,
la tarde sin mañana,
y el primer pájaro muerto
sobre la rama.
¡Oh guitarra!
Corazón malherido
por cinco espadas.

The guitar

Suddenly, the guitar
And the cups of dawn lie shattered.
Suddenly, the guitar,
Useless to silence,
Impossible to silence,
Weeping relentlessly,
Like water,
Like snow-bound wind,
Impossible to silence.
It weeps for distant things,
Sands of the searing south
Begging for white camellias.
It weeps for the arrow with no target,
The evening with no tomorrow,
And the first dead bird of winter.
Oh, guitar!
These five swords
Are piercing your heart!