This poem haunts me in ways I can only half describe. For instance, I love the image of the lost dog “playing in the volcano / with her friends / throwing pieces of candy.” That line seems like the perfect way to approach the whole tone of the poem: On the one hand, the dog is lost—maybe even dead—and playing in the dangerous space of the volcano. On the other hand, the dog is with friends and tossing around candy. The whole poem pivots in this way between sadness and beauty–between longing and its subtleties. By the time you arrive at those stunning closing lines—”I will become like a fish. / I know very well that I will.” —you have been on a journey through loss alongside its strange, disquieting partner: hope.
—Sasha West, poet and Badgerdog’s Director of Development
(Balada de la gran tormenta)
—inspirado por “Iglesia abandonada (Balada de la gran guerra)” de Federico García Lorca
Yo tenía una perra que se llamaba Cloe.
Yo tenía una perra.
Se perdió con los muertos.
La vi jugando en el volcán
con sus amigas
echando pedazos de dulces.
Cuando la perdí, pensé,
¡Mi perra! ¡Mi perra! ¡Mi perra!
Yo tenía un perro
y comprendí que estaba sólo
en la cueva.
Yo tenía una perra y un perro.
Yo tenía los dos desde que nacieron.
No tenía bastante para cuidarlos en mi pobre casa. ¡Ay, mis perros!
Yo los amaba con todo mi pobre corazón.
Yo tenía una perra y un perro que eran bailarines,
pero sin ellos me muero.
Si me muero, estará pronto.
Yo no los dejo,
ni siquiera para salir de la casa.
¡Si mis perros hubieran estado locos!
Me volveré como un pez.
Yo sé muy bien que lo haré.
(Ballad of the Great Storm)
—after Federico García Lorca’s “Rundown Church (Ballad of the First World War)”
I had a dog and her name was Chloe.
I had a dog.
She disappeared with the dead people.
I saw her playing in the volcano
with her friends
throwing pieces of candy.
When I lost her, I thought,
My dog! My dog! My dog!
I had another dog
and I understood that he was alone
in the cave.
I had two dogs.
I had them since they were born.
I had too little to take care of them in my poor house.
Oh, my dogs!
I loved them with all of my poor heart.
I had two dogs who were ballet dancers,
but without them I will die.
If I die, it will be soon.
I won’t leave them,
not even to leave the house.
If my dogs had only been crazy!
I will become like a fish.
I know very well that
Areli, fourth grade, Ms. Rodriguez’s class, Perez Elementary School
*This beautiful poem, and so many more, are included in Rise, our newest anthology of elementary school writing.