The Poem

(Critical Guide to Poetry for Students)

As one might imagine from the title, “Landscape with Two Graves and an Assyrian Dog” is an unusual poem. The title suggests a painting of some sort—not an ordinary one, but a Surrealist painting such as Federico García Lorca’s fellow Spaniard Salvador Dalí might create. Such a painting almost always attempts to capture, on canvas, the illogical and imagistic nature of dreams.

García Lorca attempts something similar in his poem. The poem is relatively short, consisting of three stanzas easily contained on one page. It is written in free verse with lines of varying length. García Lorca also uses jagged, discordant language, which, when combined with the form and length of the poem, serves to mirror the ephemeral and illogical nature of a dream.

One thinks of dreams as making an appeal to the subconscious to discover or work out something. García Lorca makes the same appeal in his poem. The poem begins: “Friend/ get up and listen/ to the Assyrian dog howl.” Each of the three stanzas begins the same way, by urging a friend to arise and listen. The poem is written in the first person, as are most of García Lorca’s poems, and the speaker is most likely García Lorca himself. It is possible that García Lorca is trying to rouse a friend, but because of the commands, the reader feels that García Lorca is speaking directly to him or her, thus reaffirming this sense of urgency.

The poem shifts from this type of command...

(The entire section is 511 words.)