Rider’s Song By Federico Garcia Lorca: Poem Analysis

“Rider’s Song” is an excellent specimen of one of Federico Garcia Lorca’s poems which we will analyze in "Rider’s Song By Federico Garcia Lorca: Poem Analysis" paper. It is originally a Spanish poem which has been translated into English. He was a Spanish Poet and is considered to be one of the finest poets of the 20th century. The poem, “Rider’s Song”, much like most of his other poems, is composed of short sentences or segments as opposed to long ones. Each segment in this poem is descriptive of either a place or action, which contribute to creating a vivid image in the reader’s mind. His poetry is beautiful and extremely lucid. There are short systematic pauses between each segment which add to the atmosphere the poet is trying to create in this poem. These pauses showcase Lorca’s love for music like poetry giving his reader’s a much better experience of the poem. According to Nelson R Orringer, Federico Garcia Lorca’s works were greatly influenced by music. He regarded his poetry to be similar to musical performances In 1933, in an interview he confessed, “Wherever I work, there has to be music. ” (Federico Garcia Lorca). Traditional music like rhythm gives the poem a tune which soothes the reader’s mind greatly.

According to Aristotle, most forms of art are a kind of imitation. Poems imitate songs, tunes, rhythms and harmony, much like the “Rider’s Song’. ‘I propose to treat of Poetry in itself and of its various kinds, noting the essential quality of each; to inquire into the structure of the plot as requisite to a good poem; into the number and nature of the parts of which a poem is composed’ - (Aristotle’s Poetics). Lorca was a man with socialistic ideals and was not scared to voice his opinions, regardless of what the consequences would be. He was taken into police custody during the Spanish Civil War when his brother in law was murdered. His life was hard, and the state of his mind is clearly reflected in all his poems, particularly in ‘Rider’s Song’ through its grave theme of death and unfulfilled goals. This reflects Aristotle’s Poetics clearly as according to Aristotle, a poem is an imitation also of its writer’s state of mind, his feelings, and his circumstances. Federico Garcia Lorca was shot dead, and the reason for his assassination is till date a topic of speculation and uncertainty. Some say he was sentenced to death due to his sexual orientation, whereas some say that it was because of his social and political beliefs.

The poem starts on a grave note, “Cordova, far and lonely. ” We are introduced to the conditions of the route to Cordova, which in the 11th century was believed to be the richest one in Europe, as he rides on a black pony on a full moon night all by himself. Right at the beginning of the poem, Lorca sets the mood and tone of everything that follows. He talks about an acclaimed and wealthy city which is not only his desired destination but also a seemingly unachievable goal as he says that, along with some olives in his pocket, he rides along a known route, yet will never reach his destination. “Black pony, red moon,”. The poet paints a picture of a lonely moonlit road as the rider advances towards his destination as the winds blow. The moon in Lorca’s poems often symbolises death.

As the moon turns red, the poet signals towards an impending threat as death watches over him from near the towers in Cordova. In the last stanza, the rider sighs, complaining about the unending highways, his brave pony and the possible death as he approaches an unattainable destination. The poem is structured in a very interesting manner. There are three distinct systematic stanzas with short descriptive segments. However, the poet repeats the same line as the opening and closing statement of the poem - “Cordova, far and lonely. ” This particular statement, in my belief, not only introduces and sets the tone of the entire poem in the beginning, but is repeated at the end to reinstate the ideas of the poem which creates in the reader’s mind a feeling that Cordova, the rider’s destination, is far, seemingly difficult, grave, as well as unachievable. It is important for any reader of this poem to take into consideration that Lorca feared death greatly and this fear in his mind became the common theme in a lot of his poems. Lorca was executed at the age of 38 by a firing squad during the Spanish Civil war.

Amongst the various literary forms of expression, metaphors are predominant in F. C Lorca’s poetry. “Metaphor is the application of an alien name by transference either from genus to species, or from species to genus, or from species to species, or by analogy, that is, proportion. ”(Aristotle's Poetics). He used unusual metaphors where the literal meaning and its metaphorical meaning are very different yet quite similar to each other. For instance, in “Rider’s Song” Lorca talks about a red moon. The moon in itself would not symbolise anything much, but by adding a simple adjective like ‘red’, he hints at a grave idea in a really complex yet simple way. He had an extremely different and peculiar sense of writing. He used various symbols to convey his message and feelings in his poetry. Often, these symbols refer to death and death like experiences. The moon, spilt blood, still water, a horse with its rider, grass, and metal weapons, among other things, all in some way or the other signify death. Other common themes of the poem are sexuality, vitality, life, tragedy, and even fertility. Even though the poem is complex in its structure, it must be noted that the entire poem consists of simple words with no alteration to fit a particular rhyming scheme.

According to Aristotle, “A word is lengthened when its own vowel is exchanged for a longer one, or when a syllable is inserted. A word is contracted when some part of it is removed. ” (Aristotle's Poetics). This poem, however, does not use any such alterations and is thus simple to read with an underlying complex meaning. Aristotle also says- As to that poetic imitation which is narrative in form and employs a single metre, the plot manifestly ought, as in a tragedy, to be constructed on dramatic principles. It should have for its subject a single action, whole and complete, with a beginning, a middle, and an end (Aristotle's Poetics). In the poem, we see that the rider, who is the subject of the poem, talks about a destination that is unattainable and doomed with death. “Alas, that death is waiting. Before I reach Cordova”. It is said that Lorca was a fan of Spanish History and would almost always include references to Spanish traditions, history and culture.

In “Rider’s Song”, he talks about ‘Cordova’ as the Rider’s unattainable goal or destination. Cordova, even as today in the modern world is a beautiful place to visit and was supposed to be not only one of the richest, wealthiest place in Arabic Spain but also a place that was rich in culture and heritage. According to the New York Times- “ "Although I know the roads. . . I'll never reach Cordoba," or "You leave us singing. . . in the little square"--and in the same way he savors and sweetens a people and landscape that he loved deeply and intimately. ”


18 May 2020
Your Email

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and  Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close thanks-icon

Your essay sample has been sent.

Order now
Still can’t find what you need?

Order custom paper and save your time
for priority classes!

Order paper now