This ballad first inspired Grant to sing in Spanish. It is based on the tragic poem by the great poet Federico Garcia Lorca.

A gypsy woman is waiting by her balcony, looking into the night, and Lorca describes the scene in dreamlike, sometimes surreal imagery. The scene changes to a man stumbling through the countryside, trying to get back to the woman. He’s been mortally wounded and is half dead and hallucinating. (His state, along with the woman’s dreamlike state, correspond to the title, Sleepwalking Ballad). He encounters the ghost of the woman’s father, who is helpless to render aid, despite the man’s pleading. The scene changes back to the woman, who is still waiting. There is a banging at the door, but it’s not the man. Rather, it’s a group of drunken Civil Guards, who were the enemies of the gypsies before and during the Spanish civil war. That’s where Lorca leaves it.

Lorca uses the term verde (Spanish for “green”) throughout the poem. To Lorca, green was the color of unfulfilled desire, which to him as a gay intellectual and artist in Catholic, emerging fascist Spain, was prevalent in his life until his execution at the beginning of their civil war. The color appears in many of his other works, carrying the same sense of longing. Because of the meaning of this song in general and to the duo in particular, we decided to name the CD Verde.

You can also hear this track in the video “Grasses at the Lake” by Oregon-based poet Kim Stafford.


Letras (lyrics):

Verde que te quiero verde. / Green how I want you green.
Verde viento. Verdes ramas. / Green wind. Green branches.
El barco sobre la mar / The boat over the sea
y el caballo en la montaña. / and the horse on the mountain.

Con la sombra en la cintura, / With the shadow on her waist,
ella sueña en su baranda, / she dreams at her balcony,
verde carne, pelo verde, / green flesh, green hair,
con ojos de fría plata. / with eyes of cold silver.

Que te quiero verde, si, si,
Que te quiero verde, ay, ay,
Que te quiero verde.

Verde que te quiero verde. / Green how I want you green.
bajo la luna gitana, / under the gypsy moon,
las cosas la están mirando / things are watching her
y ella no puede mirarlas. / and she can’t see them.

Pero ¿Quién vendrá? ¿Y por donde? / But who will come and from where?
Ella sigue en su baranda, / She continúes at her bannister,
verde carne, pelo verde, / green flesh, green hair
soñando en la mar amarga. / dreaming of the bitter sea.

Compadre, quiero cambiar / Friend, I want to exchange
mi caballo por su casa, / my horse for her house,
mi montura por su espejo, / my saddle for her mirror,
mi cuchillo por su manta. / my knife for her blanket.

Compadre, vengo sangrando / Friend, I come bleeding
desde los puertos de Cabra, / from the gates of Cabra.
Si yo pudiera, mocito, / If I could, young man,
este trato se cerraba. / this deal would be sealed.

Compadre, quiero morir / Friend, I want to die
decentemente en mi cama. / decently in my bed.
De acero, si puede ser, / Of silver, if it can be,
con las sábanas de holanda. / with fine linen sheets.

Compadre, donde esta dime, / Friend, where is she, tell me,
¿Dónde esta tu niña amarga? / Where is your bitter girl?
Cúantas veces te esperó, / How many times she waited for you,
cúantas veces te esparara. / how many times she would wait for you.

Sobre el rostro del aljibe / Over the mouth of the well
se mecía la gitana. / the gypsy woman was rocking.
Verde carne, pelo verde, / Green flesh, green hair,
con ojos de fría plata. / With eyes of cold silver.

La noche su puso íntima / The night became intimate
como una pequeña plaza. / like a small plaza.
Guardias civiles borrachos / Drunken Civil Guards
en la puerta golpeaban / were banging on the door.