Federico GarcŪa Lorca

  

Blood Wedding

 

(Bodas de sangre)

 

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Previous Act

 

1933

 

A tragedy in three acts and seven scenes

 

Act III

 

A. S. Kline © 2007 All Rights Reserved

This work may be freely reproduced, stored, and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose. Permission to perform this version of the play, on stage or film, by amateur or professional companies, and for commercial purposes, should be requested from the translator, mailto:tonykline@yahoo.com.

 

Contents

 

Act III Scene 1. 4

Act III Scene 2. 17

 


Act III Scene 1

 

(Woodland. It is night. Large moist trees. A gloomy atmosphere. Two violins are heard. Three woodcutters appear.)

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:Have they found them?

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER: No. But theyíre searching everywhere.

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER:Theyíll find them.

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER:Sssh!

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER: What?

SECOND WOODCUTTER:Theyíre closing in from all directions.

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER: When the moon rises theyíll see them.

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER:They ought to let them go.

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:The world is large. Thereís room for all.

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER: But theyíll kill them.

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER:They followed their inclination: they were right to flee.

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:They tried to deceive themselves, but in the end blood proved stronger.

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER: Blood!

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:They followed the urge of their blood.

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER: But blood that sees the light the earth soon drinks.

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:So? Better to die of loss of blood than live with poison in your veins.

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER:Hush!

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:Why? What do you hear?

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER: Cicadas, frogs, and the night lying in wait.

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:Thereís still no sound of a horse.

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER:No.

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:Then heís making love to her.

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER: Her body is his, and his is hers.

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER: Theyíll hunt them down and kill them.

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:But their blood will have mingled, and theyíll be like two empty vessels, two dry streams.

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER: Thereís heavy cloud, perhaps the moon will be hidden.

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER:The bridegroom will find them, moon or no moon. I saw him leave. Like a raging meteor. His face ashen. Revealing the family destiny.

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:A family that dies in the street.

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER: Thatís it!

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER:Do you think theyíll break through the circle?

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER: Tricky. There are knives and guns in a three mile circuit.

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER:He rides a fine horse.

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER:But with a woman.

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER: Here is the tree.

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER: Forty foot high. Weíll soon have it down.

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER:The moonís coming out. Weíll have to hurry.

 

(A brilliant light shines out from stage left)

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:

Ay, the moon rises

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† moon of the sharp knives.

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER:

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Full of blood-wet jasmine!

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ay, moon alone!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Moon of the green blades!

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER:

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Silvering the brideís face.

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER:

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ay, ill moon!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Leave the dark branch to love.

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ay, sad moon!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Leave the dark branch to love.

 

(They exit. From the light stage-left the Moon appears. The Moon is a young woodcutter, with a white face. The scene acquires a bright blue glow.)

 

MOON:

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† White swan in the river,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† the eye of cathedrals,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† false dawn in the leaves,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† am I. They cannot hide!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Who can escape? Who sobs

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† in the valleyís tangle?

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The moon leaves a knife

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† behind in the air,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a lead-coloured trap

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† that seeks bloodís cry.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Let me in! I come frozen

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† through walls and windows!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Open roofs and breasts

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† where I can be warmed!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Iím chilled! My ashes

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† of somnolent metals

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† seek the crown of the fire

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† among streets and mountains.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† But I bring the snow

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† to their shoulders of jasper,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and I flood, cold and harsh,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† the depths of the lakes.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† But this night my cheeks

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† will be stained with red blood,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and the reeds clustered

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† in wide swathes of air.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I have no shadow,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† nowhere they can hide!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Let me enter a breast

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† where I can be warmed!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† A heart of my own!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Burning! Spilling itself

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† on the hills of my breast;

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Let me come in! Oh, let me! (To the branches)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† No shadow. My rays

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† must shine everywhere,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and in dark of the trees

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† spread a rumour of dawn,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† so my cheeks this night

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† will be stained with red blood,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and the reeds clustered

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† in wide swathes of air.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Whoís that hiding! Speak out!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† No! Thereís no escape!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Iíll make the horse gleam

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† with a fever of diamond.

 

(The Moon vanishes among the trees and leaves the scene to its gloom. An old woman appears dressed in dark-green rags. She is bare-footed. Her face is hidden in the folds of her cloak. This character does not appear in the cast list.)

 

BEGGARWOMAN:

 

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† The moon is gone, and they are near by.

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† Theyíll not leave here. The sound of the river

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† will drown in the sound of the trees

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† the broken flight of their cries.

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† It must be here, and soon. I am weary.

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† The chests, and the white sheets ache

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† await on the empty bedroom floors

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† the heavy corpses with slashed throats.

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† Not a bird will stir and the breeze,

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† will sweep the sound of their cries

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† away with her through the black trees,

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† or bury them deep in gleaming mud.

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† The moon! The moon! (Impatiently)

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† The moon! The moon!

 

(The Moon emerges. The intense light returns.)

†††††††††††††††††††

MOON:Theyíre nearer now.

 

Some by the hill, the rest by the river.

Iíll light their way. What do you need?

 

BEGGARWOMAN:Nothing.

 

MOON:††††††††††††††††† The air is hardening, and double-edged.

 

BEGGARWOMAN:†† Light their waistcoats, pluck off the buttons,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† so that later the knives will know the road.

 

MOON: †††††††††††††††††† But let them die slowly. Let the blood seep

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† slow through my fingers, a delicate whisper.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Already my ashen valleys are stirring

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† they yearn for that fount, its quivering flow!

 

BEGGARWOMAN:†† We wonít let them pass the stream! Now, silence!

 

MOON:Theyíre here!

 

(The Moon vanishes. Leaving the scene in darkness.)

 

BEGGARWOMAN:Swiftly! Light! Did you hear me? They must not escape!

 

(The Bridegroom and a boy appear. The Beggar-woman sits, and covers herself with her cloak.)

 

BRIDEGROOM:Through here.

 

FIRST BOY:Youíll never find them.

 

BRIDEGROOM:(Energetically) When I do find them!

 

FIRST BOY:I think theyíve gone another way.

 

BRIDEGROOM:No. I heard a horse galloping not long ago.

 

BOY:It may be another horse.

 

BRIDEGROOM:(Dramatically) Listen. Thereís only one horse for me in all the world, and itís that one. Do you understand? If youíre going to follow me, follow in silence.

 

FIRST BOY: I only meantÖ

 

BRIDEGROOM:Hush. Iím sure Iíll find them here. See this arm? Well itís not mine. Itís the arm of my brother, of my father, of all my familyís dead. And it holds such power I could tear up this tree by its roots, if I wished. Now letís go on, because I feel their anger here in a manner that makes it impossible for me to breathe easily.

 

BEGGARWOMAN:(Moaning) Ay!

 

FIRST BOY:Did you hear that?

 

BRIDEGROOM:Go through there, then work your way back.

 

FIRST BOY:Itís like a hunt.

 

BRIDEGROOM:It is a hunt. The greatest you can undertake.

 

(The boy leaves. The Bridegroom moves swiftly to the left and stumbles over the Beggar-woman.)

 

BEGGARWOMAN:Ay!

 

BRIDEGROOM:What is it?

 

BEGGARWOMAN: Iím cold.

 

BRIDEGROOM:Where are you travelling to?

 

BEGGARWOMAN:(In the quavering voice of a mendicant) Far from hereÖ

 

BRIDEGROOM:Where are you from?

 

BEGGARWOMAN:From thereÖ.from afar.

 

BRIDEGROOM:Have you seen a man and woman riding a horse?

 

BEGGARWOMAN: (Rousing herself) WaitÖ (She gazes at him). A handsome young man. (She rises) Handsomer still if he were sleeping.

 

BRIDEGROOM:Answer me, have you seen them?

 

BEGGARWOMAN:WaitÖ.What broad shoulders! Wouldnít you prefer to lie flat on them, and not have to stand on your feet which are so small?

 

BRIDEGROOM:(Shaking her) I asked if youíve seen them? Have they passed this way?

 

BEGGARWOMAN:(Energetically) They have not; but theyíre descending the hillside. Canít you hear them?

 

BRIDEGROOM:No.

 

BEGGARWOMAN:Do you know the way?

 

BRIDEGROOM:Iíll find it; come what may!

 

BEGGARWOMAN:Iíll go with you. I know this country.

 

BRIDEGROOM:(Impatiently) Come then! Which way?

 

BEGGARWOMAN:(Dramatically) Through here!

 

(They leave swiftly. Two violins are heard far off which express the forest. The Woodcutters return, carrying their axes on their shoulders. They pass slowly through the trees.)

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ay! Death enters!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Death of the sharp knives.

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER:

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Donít let the blood spurt!

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:

 

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† Ay! Death enters,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Death of the dry leaves.

 

THIRD WOODCUTTER:

 

Donít drown the flowers of the wedding!

 

SECOND WOODCUTTER:

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ay! Sad death!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Leave the green leaves of love.

 

FIRST WOODCUTTER:

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ay! Ill death!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Leave the green leaves of love.

 

(They leave as they finish speaking. Leonardo and the Bride appear.)

 

LEONARDO: Hush!

 

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† Iíll go on alone from here.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Go back! I want you to go!

 

LEONARDO: ††††††††††† Hush, I said!

 

BRIDE:††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† With your teeth,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† with your hands, if you can,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† cut from my honest neck

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† the chain youíve set there,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† leave me forgotten

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† in my house of earth.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† And if you wonít kill me

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† like a nascent viper,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† place in the brideís hands

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† the stock of your rifle.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ay, what grief, what fire

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† runs through my head!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† What glass cuts at my tongue!

 

LEONARDO: ††††††††††† Thereís no going back; hush!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Because theyíre encircling us

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and I must take you with me.

 

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† Then it will be by force.

 

LEONARDO: ††††††††††† By force? Who was it then

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† first slipped down the stairs?

 

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† I did.

 

LEONARDO: ††††††††††† Who put a fresh

bridle on the horse?

 

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† I did. Itís true.

 

LEONARDO: ††††††††††† And whose hands

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† fastened my spurs?

 

 

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† These hands which are yours,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and which if they could

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† would quell the blue branches

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and the stir of your veins.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I love you! I love you! Go!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† For if I could only kill you,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Iíd wrap you in a shroud

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† with violet fringes.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ay, what grief, what fire

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† runs through my head!

 

LEONARDO: ††††††††††† What glass cuts at my tongue!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Because I wished to forget

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and build a wall out of stone

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† between your house and mine.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Itís true? Donít you remember?

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† And when I saw you afar

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I threw sand in my eyes.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† But then I climbed on my horse

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and the horse came to your door.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† With the silver pins of your veil

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† my blood turned to darkness,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and dreams they filled my flesh

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† with the rank odour of weeds.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† But the guilt of it isnít mine,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† the guilt belongs to the earth

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† it is the perfume that rises

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† from your breasts and your hair.

 

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† Ay, what madness! I wish

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† neither bed nor board from you,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† yet thereís no hour of the day

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† that I donít long to see you,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† for you draw me, and I go,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and you tell me to return

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and I follow you through the air,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† like a straw lost in the wind.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I left a fine man behind

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and all his family there

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† in the midst of the wedding

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† dressed in my wreath of flowers.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† But youíll suffer for it,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and I donít want you to.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Leave me! Go far away!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Thereís none here to defend you.

 

LEONARDO: ††††††††††† The birds of the morning

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† are stirring in the trees.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The night itself is dying

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† in a hard edge of stone.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Letís find some dark corner,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† where I can always love you,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† where people will not matter

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† nor the venom they engender.

 

(He embraces her tightly)

 

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† And Iíll sleep at your feet

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† to watch over your dreams.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† naked, Iíll lie on the ground,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† just like a bitch on heat. (Dramatically)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Thatís what I am! I see you

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† And your beauty makes me burn.

 

LEONARDO: ††††††††††† One fire lights another.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The one little flame

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† destroys the whole crop.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Letís go! (He gathers her up.)

 

BRIDE:††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Where will we go?

 

LEONARDO: ††††††††††† Anywhere where the men

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† encircling us canít go.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Where I can gaze at you!

 

BRIDE: (Sarcastically)

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Take me from fair to fair,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† all honest womenís shame

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† so the people can stare,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† with my wedding sheet

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† like a banner in the wind.

 

 

LEONARDO: ††††††††††† I too would leave you

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† if I thought as they do.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† But Iíll go where you go.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† You too. Take a step. Come.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Splinters of moonlight pierce

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† my waist and your hips.

 

(The whole scene is intense, full of deep sensuality.)

 

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† Did you hear?

 

LEONARDO: ††††††††††† Someone comes.

 

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† Go!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Itís right I should die here

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† with my feet in the water,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† with thorns now in my hair.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† And for the leaves to mourn,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a lost girl and a maiden.

 

LEONARDO: ††††††††††† Hush. They are here.

 

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† Go now.

 

 

LEONARDO: ††††††††††† Silence. They wonít hear us.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† You go first. Go on, I say!

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† (The Bride hesitates)

 

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† Both together!†††††††

 

LEONARDO: (Hugging her tightly)

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Well, as you wish!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† If they part us,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† then Iíll be dead.

 

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† And I too shall die.

 

(They embrace and leave. The Moon appears very slowly. The scene acquires a fiery blue light. The two violins are heard. Suddenly two loud screams are heard, and the violins fall silent. With the second scream the Beggar-woman appears, with her back to the audience. She opens her cloak, and occupies centre stage, like a great bird with immense wings. The Moon halts. The curtain falls in the midst of absolute silence.)

 

Curtain


Act III Scene 2

 

(A white room with archways and thick walls. White stairways to the left and right. At the back a wall of the same colour with a large arch. The floor should also be of a brilliant white. This simple room has the monumental feel of a church. There are no half-tones or shadows, not even enough to create a sense of perspective. Two girls dressed in dark blue are winding a skein of red wool. Another young girl is also present)

 

FIRST GIRL:†††††††††† Skein, skein

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† what would you be?

 

SECOND GIRL: †††††††† Dress of jasmine,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† tie of crystal.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† To be born at four,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and to die at ten.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† A strand of wool,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a chain at your feet,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and a knot to bind

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† the bitter laurel.

 

YOUNG GIRL:†††††††† Did you go to the wedding?

 

FIRST GIRL:†††††††††† No.

 

YOUNG GIRL:†††††††† Neither did I!

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† What happened there

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† among the dark vines?

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† What happened there

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† in the olive branches?

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† What happened there

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† that no oneís returned?

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Did you go to the wedding?

 

SECOND GIRL: †††††††† We both said no.

 

YOUNG GIRL: (Leaving)

 

Neither did I!

 

SECOND GIRL: †††††††† Skein, skein

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† what would you sing?

 

FIRST GIRL:†††††††††† Waxen wounds

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† sorrow of myrtle.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Sleep in the morning,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† waking at nightfall.

 

YOUNG GIRL: (From the doorway)

†††††††††††††††††††

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The thread runs

††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††† over the stones.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The blue hills

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† it leaves behind.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Runs, runs, runs

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and serves at last

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† to handle a knife

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† to sever a life.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

(She exits)

 

SECOND GIRL: †††††††† Wool, wool

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† what would you tell of?

 

FIRST GIRL:†††††††††† A voiceless lover.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† A crimson husband.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† By the silent river

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I saw them lying.

 

(She stops and gazes at the wool)

 

YOUNG GIRL:†††††††† Run, run run,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† the thread winds here.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Shrouds of earth

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I hear them coming.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Bodies laid out,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† sheaths of ivory!

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

(She exits. Leonardoís wife and Mother-in-law appear filled with anguish.)

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

 

FIRST GIRL:Are they coming soon?

 

MOTHER-IN-LAW: (Bitterly) We donít know.

 

SECOND GIRL: What about the wedding?

 

FIRST GIRL:Tell me.

 

MOTHER-IN-LAW: (Sharply) Thereís nothing to tell.

 

WIFE: I want to turn back, I want to know.

 

MOTHER-IN-LAW: (Forcefully)

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† You, take to your house.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Bravely, alone in your house.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† To grow old and to weep.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Through the locked door.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Never. Not dead or alive.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Weíll nail shut the windows.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Let rain and the night

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† fall over the bitter grass.

 

WIFE: What can have happened?

 

MOTHER-IN-LAW: ††† No matter.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Hide your face in a veil.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Your children are yours

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† alone. On the bed

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† make a cross of ash

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† where his pillow lay.

 

(They exit.)

 

BEGGARWOMAN:(From the doorway)

 

††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† A crust of bread, pretty girls?

 

YOUNG GIRL:Go away!

 

(The girls huddle together)

 

BEGGARWOMAN:And why?

 

YOUNG GIRL:†††††††† Because of your whining. Be gone.

 

FIRST GIRL:Child!

 

BEGGARWOMAN:†† I could ask for your eyes! A cloud

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† of birds follows me: do you want one?

 

YOUNG GIRL:†††††††† I want to be gone from you!

 

SECOND GIRL: (To the Beggar woman) Ignore her.

 

FIRST GIRL: Did you come by the river path?

 

BEGGARWOMAN:Thatís the way I came.

 

FIRST GIRL:(Timidly) May I ask?

 

BEGGARWOMAN:†† I saw them: they come: two torrents

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† quiet at last between the great stones,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† two men between the horseís hooves.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Dead in the beauty of night. (With delectation.)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Dead, yes, dead.

 

FIRST GIRL:†††††††††† Silence, old woman, silence!

 

BEGGARWOMAN:†† Crushed flowers their eyes, their teeth

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† like two fists of hardened snow.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Both of them fell, the bride returned

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† her hair, her dress dyed with blood.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Covered with blankets they come

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† on the shoulders of handsome lads.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† It is so; thatís all. It was just.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† On the golden flower, black sand.

 

FIRST GIRL: Black sand.

 

SECOND GIRL:On the golden flower.

 

YOUNG GIRL:†††††††† Beneath the flower of gold

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† They carry them from the river.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Dark-haired the one,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† dark-haired the other.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Let the nightingale of shadow

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† fly, and call to the flower of gold!

 

(She leaves. The stage is empty. The Mother enters with a neighbour. The neighbour has been weeping.)

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

MOTHER:†††† Hush.

 

NEIGHBOUR:I canít.

 

MOTHER:†††† Hush, I said. (In the doorway.) Is there no one here? (She raises her hands to her face.) My son should have been here. But now my son is an armful of withered flowers. Now my son is a dark voice behind the mountains. (Angrily, to the neighbour) Will you be quiet? Iíll have no tears in this house. Your tears are tears from your eyes, nothing more, but mine will flow when Iím alone, from the soles of my feet, from the root, and theyíll flow hot as blood.

 

NEIGHBOUR:Come home with me; you canít want to stay here.

 

MOTHER:†††† Here. Here, where I am. And in peace. Theyíre all dead now. Iíll be able to sleep at night, sleep free of the fear of guns and knives. Other women will lean sleepless from their windows, drenched by the rain, to catch sight of their sonsí faces. Not I. My dreams will be of a cold dove of marble carrying flowers of frost to a graveyard. But no; not a graveyard, no grave; itís a couch of earth, a bed to cradle them, and rock them under the sky. (A woman dressed in black enters, and kneels down at stage left.) (To the neighbour) Take your hands from your face. The days to come will be terrible days. We wish for no one. The earth and I. My grief and I. And these four walls. Ay! Ay! (She sits down, grief-stricken)

 

NEIGHBOUR:Have pity on yourself.

 

MOTHER: (Smoothing her hair back with her hands) I must be calm. (She remains seated) Because the neighbours will come, and I donít wish them to see me so wretched. So poverty-stricken! A woman without a single son to clasp to her breast.

 

(The Bride appears. her orange blossom has vanished and she is wearing a black shawl.)

 

NEIGHBOUR:(Approaching her angrily) Where are you going?

 

BRIDE: Iíve come.

 

MOTHER: (To the neighbour) Who is it?

 

NEIGHBOUR:Donít you see?

 

MOTHER:Thatís why I ask who she is? To pretend I donít know, to avoid sinking my teeth in her throat. Viper! (She rushes at the Bride as if to strike her, but stops short. To the neighbour) Do you see her? Here she is, and she weeps, and I halt here, and I fail to tear out her eyes. I donít understand it myself. Did I not love my son enough? Well; and her honour? Where is her precious honour now? (She strikes the Bride, who falls to the ground.)

 

NEIGHBOUR:For Godís sake! (She tries to separate them)

 

BRIDE: (To the neighbour) Let her go; I came here so that she could kill me,so that they could take me with them. (To the Mother) But not with your bare hands; with shears, with a sickle, with whatever force might break my bones. Let her be! I want her to know, in her anger, I am pure, and that theyíll bury me without any man having gazed on the whiteness of my breasts.

 

MOTHER: Be silent; what does that matter to me?

 

BRIDE: Because I ran with another, I ran! (Anguished) You too, you would have gone. I was a woman on fire, wounded inside and out, and your son was a stream of water that could give me sons, land, health; but the other was a dark river, filled with branches, that brought me the murmur of its reeds, and its song between clenched teeth. And I went with your son who was like a child born of water, cold, while the other sent flocks of birds that prevented me walking, and sent frost into the wounds of a poor withered woman, a girl scorched by the flames. I did not want it. Listen to me! I did not want it. Do you hear? I did not want it. Your son was my goal, and I did not betray him, but the other seized me in his arms like a wave of the sea, struck me like the kick of a mule, and I must be dragged along forever, forever, forever, forever, even if I had been old and all your sonís sons had held me back by the hair!

 

(Another neighbour enters)

 

MOTHER: Sheís not to blame. Nor I! (Sarcastically) Who is then? A fine whore, a light sleeper it is, who throws away her orange blossom to seek a corner of the bed warmed by another woman!

 

BRIDE: No more. No more! Take your revenge; here I am! Look how tender my throat is; it would cost you less effort to cut it than to cull a dahlia in your garden. But, what you say is not so! Iím as chaste and pure as a new-born babe. And with the power to prove it. Light a fire. Letís put our hands into its flames; you for your son, I, for my body. Youíll be the first to withdraw.

 

(Another neighbour enters)

 

MOTHER: What does your purity matter to me? What does your death matter? What does nullity after nullity matter to me? Blessed are the crops, because my sons lie beneath them; blessed is the rain, because it moistens their faces. Blessed is God, who unites us in rest.

 

(Another neighbour enters)

 

BRIDE: Let me weep with you.

 

MOTHER: Weep, but over there, stand in the doorway.

 

(The young girl enters. The Bride stands in the doorway, the Mother centre-stage.)

 

WIFE: (Entering and moving to the left)

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† He was the finest of horsemen

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† who now is a mound of snow.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Through the fairs and mountains,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and womenís arms he rode.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Now the mosses of midnight

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† offer a crown for his brow.

 

MOTHER: ††††††††††††††† Sunflower of your mother,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† mirror of all the earth.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Set a cross on his breast

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† of bitter oleander;

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a sheet now to cover him

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a sheet of gleaming silk,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and water there to weep

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† between his quiet hands.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

WIFE: †††††††††††††††††††† Ay! Let four boys lift him

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† on their weary shoulders!

 

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† Ay! Let four young men

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† carry death through the air!

 

MOTHER: Neighbours.

 

YOUNG GIRL: (In the doorway) Theyíre bringing them now.

 

MOTHER: ††††††††††††††† Itís no matter.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The Cross. The Cross.

 

WOMEN: †††††††††††††††† Sweet are the nails,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Sweet is the Cross,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Sweet is the name

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† of Jesus.

 

BRIDE: May the Cross shelter the dead and the living.

 

MOTHER: ††††††††††††††† Neighbours: with a knife,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† with a little knife,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† on a fatal day between two and three,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† two men killed for love.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† With a knife.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† With a little knife

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† that barely sits in the hand,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† but penetrates deep

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† through the startled flesh

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† to reach the point

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† where trembles enmeshed

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† the dark root of a cry.

††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††

BRIDE: †††††††††††††††††† And this is a knife,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a little knife

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† that barely sits in the hand;

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† a fish without scales, or the river,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† so that one fine day, between two and three,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† with this knife

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† were quenched two strong men

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† whose lips turn yellow.

 

MOTHER: ††††††††††††††† It scarcely sits in the hand.

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† But penetrates, chill,

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† through the startled flesh

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† to reach the point

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† where trembles enmeshed

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† the dark root of a cry.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

(The neighbours, kneeling on the floor, weep)

 

Curtain

 

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