The Poem

(Critical Guide to Poetry for Students)

“Gacela of the Dark Death” is a short lyric poem in free verse. The poem is composed of twenty-four lines divided into five stanzas. The title, “Gacela of the Dark Death,” identifies the poem as a gacela, a form perfected by the fourteenth century Persian poet Hafiz. Gacelas are typically short, usually rhymed, verses that often mix religious mysticism, eroticism, and daily experience. In Federico García Lorca’s gacelas, images drawn from his surrealistic and folk-inspired imagination figure prominently. Moreover, “Gacela of the Dark Death” has a place in Diván del Tamarit in that the typical movement of the collection as a whole is from a remembrance of erotic familiarity to a confrontation with and recognition of the inevitability of death. Death is the condition most associated by García Lorca with lost love, and water is a frequent symbol portending death.

The poem is written in the first person. A poet may adopt a first-person narration strategically, to speak through a persona whose outlook on life and point of view may differ from his or her own. No such difference, however, is implied in “Gacela of the Dark Death.” In the intimate, personal tradition of the lyric poet, the narrator speaks directly to the reader, establishing a foundation of personal experience. The reader is placed in a position to experience life as the narrator does, with all of life’s immediate sensations.

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(The entire section is 429 words.)