Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Poetry’

Tierra Lorca

Granada had so much to offer us. We only went for a few days and yet look how I can go on about the place on The Daily Norm for what must seem like an eternity! Two clear highlights of our trip had to be the stunning Generalife gardens, followed by those similarly lush gardens surrounding the previous family home of Federico Garcia Lorca. In both places, a truly poetic sensibility lingered in the air, making each of the senses stand on high alert as perfumes, colours and ambience were magnified in turn. Imagine then just how good it got when these two experiences came together. And that is exactly what happened when, on the night of my 33rd birthday, we headed to a flamenco concert in the Generalife gardens, whose choreography and artistic direction was entirely based on the life and work of Lorca. It was a match made in heaven.

Sitting in an audience of plenty, out in the open air on a warm balmy night in the Generalife gardens seeing before me an incredibly original modern flamenco spectacle based on the work of one of my all time favourite poets, I felt like a truly well-treated birthday boy. The stars were shining so brightly above us that they felt like part of the stage set, while in front of us, the stage itself was constructed from wings and scenery made from the perfectly erect rows of cypress trees which fill the gardens. For someone rather in love with cypress trees, this was a spectacle indeed, and I was particularly thrilled when the director of the show used various lighting effects to make the magnificent natural surroundings part of the show’s scenery.

The performance, with its mix of traditional and modern flamenco was a true spectacle, and the essence of Lorca transmitted was particularly engaging. The effect of the show was long lasting, and when finally we arrived in Marbella after our stay in Granada, I was moved to paint a small work based on the performance.


Tierra Lorca (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

So the painting I post today is entitled, like the show, Tierra Lorca, for Granada is indeed the land from which Lorca came. With its simple shapes and a frame like the proscenium arch around a stage, this painting focuses on the line of poker straight cypress trees which so enthralled me, and the energetic movement of the incredibly agile flamenco dancers, illustrated by the rose like kinetic shape flowing onto (or off?) the stage. On the right, a black and white photo of Lorca reminds of the protagonist of the piece – a poignant memorial to a genius who himself put so many masterpieces on the stage.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at

The Greatness of Granada, Part 4: Lorca’s Legacy

Federico Garcia Lorca was easily one of Spain’s greatest ever creative talents, and his premature death at the hands of Franco’s fascists one of its greatest tragedies.

Lorca was many things. Artist, poet, playwright, musician, but across the board he was a true Andalucían, a man whose sensitive heart was worn on a sleeve embroidered from the sun of the south, and whose soul was moved by Granada’s gypsy cry. Reading Lorca’s poetry in both Spanish and even in English is to take a path across the heat-baked planes of the South of Spain. His words resonate with the visceral emotion which Andalucía lays bare. His verses are characterised by a spirit lifted free by the pure power of the sun’s optimism and the darker mysteries of the night.

Gardens of the Huerta de San Vicente today


Lorca, Granada’s favourite son, is everywhere in the city. He was the fresh human face of a city otherwise characterised by its ancient history. And today his forward thinking mind and bohemian spirit fits perfectly with the 21st century manifestation of Granada. While his tragic loss in the early months of the Spanish Civil War took Lorca from the city long ago, a reminder of his life in his most devoted home town remains in the form of the Huerta de San Vicente, the Lorca’s happy holiday home on the city’s outskirts. The pretty little white house would once have been surrounded by open countryside. Today, it remains a bucolic enclave in a concrete jungle, but happily the land immediately surrounding it has been converted into a park.

The Huerta de San Vicente in Lorca’s day


Lavishly planted with roses and agapanthus, cypress trees and palms, it a garden of reflection whose mood is somehow rendered all the more romantic by association with the home of a poet who used to find so much inspiration here. In fact Lorca was so moved by the Huerta that he used to refer to it as his “Poetry factory”. The energy which drove him to write the most spectacular poetry ripples through the house today, and the ability to walk within and around this space remains for me a true highlight of any Granada trip. It is a home exuding the creative energy and the familial love which was so clearly integral to Lorca’s writing, and the foundation of his overflowing love for the city which continued to inspire him right up until the end.


That inspiration resulted in the most stunning body of written works which today is Lorca’s lasting and most precious legacy. Moved by our visit to the Huerta, Dominik and I would sit up at night, both in Granada and then besides our jasmine tree in Marbella, reciting his verses, first in Spanish and then in English, loving how the sound of his verses would run over the tongue like water bubbling over a mountain brook, full of free sentiment and the most mellifluous melody.

This post includes my photos of the gardens surrounding the Huerta de San Vicente (photos inside the house were prohibited) as well as a glimpse of how the house, and of course Lorca himself, had looked. But it wouldn’t be complete without a few of his words too. Chosen at random from my precious anthology of his work, it was a coincidence that the page should fall open at a poem written in evident homage to both Granada and nearby Córdoba. It is a perfect demonstration of Lorca’s love for Andalucía, and his ability to capture its soul in just a few expertly chosen words.


Alba / Dawn

Campanas de Córdoba / Bells of Córdoba
en la madrugada. / in the early hours.
Campanas de amanecer /Bells of dawn
en Granada. / in Granada
Os sienten todas las muchachas / They hear you,
que lloran a la tierna / all the girls who cry
Soleá enlutada. / for the tender Soleá in mourning.
Las muchachas / The girls
de Andalucía la alta / of Andalucía the High
y la baja. / and the low
Las niñas de España, / Young girls of Spain
de pie menudo / with tiny feet
 y temblorosas faldas, / and trembling skirts
que han llenado de luces / who’ve filled the crossroads
las encrucijadas. / with light. 
¡Oh campanas de Córdoba / Oh bells of Córdoba
en la madrugada, / in the early hours
y oh campanas de amanecer / and oh, bells of dawn
en Granada! / in Granada!

Own photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2016 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

War in reflection: Poems from the trenches, photos for peace

In the last of my “War series” posts of this week (though look out for my paintings on war next week – I need to get photos of them first!) I turn to reflect on one of the most poignant records which have come out of World War 1: the poetry. It may seem banal, especially after all my talk of cliches earlier in the week, that I choose to reflect on poems which, in the most part, are already extremely well known. But their notoriety is testament to their pure brilliance, their power to move and take the reader right back into the quagmire hell of trench warfare. They may now be the staple of the English literature national curriculum  all over the UK (and as I know too well, this often causes the student who is agonising over the supposed multifaceted meaning of each line to hate the poem rather than admire it), but these poems are still ripe to be rediscovered, to be reread and savoured as a most moving testament to the suffering of so many during those times.

The reason why these poems work so well is that there are times of such horror that normal prose just won’t do. Through poetry, the soldiers are able to pour out their soul, their recollection of the horror in abstract phrases, bursts of painful memory, shattering like gunfire around them, painfully but beautifully transcribed onto the page.  In the poems I have selected below, hopefully you will be equally touched by every loaded word as I have been. I know this is not the traditional time for remembrance, but do we really need a date in the diary to recollect the sacrifice that was made for us?

In between the poems, I’ve included some of my own photos. Not of war, but photos which seem appropriate when remembering the dead. Those posted between the poetry are taken in the local cemetery in Marbella, Spain. Quite out of the way of the usual tourist track of the glitzy coastal town, it is nonetheless one of my favourite places to go on a summers day, to wander in the shadows of cypress trees amongst tombs and gravestones dappled with silent sunlight. It is a place of great tranquility but not of sadness. In the devotion shown by a single flower placed by one family member tending the grave of their dead, you appreciate the great family love which still retains a place of such central importance in the Spanish home. At the bottom of my post you’ll find a gallery of some of my favourite flower photos which I’ve taken over the years. Much war poetry talks of flowers, and of course the poppy has become a worldwide symbol of remembrance. It’s appropriate that this product of natural beauty has grown from a ground riddled with the ghosts of a tumultuous history. In this way flowers are a symbol of hope and continuing beauty.

Marbella cemetery © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown

Read more