A Woman Defined

Art & Culture by Mahvash Mossaed
Green Hills by Qingbao Meng

Who is Afraid of Social Media?

August 26, 2018

Change, this stranger who has always been around, but in disguise

Who is afraid of change? Change, this stranger who has always been around, but in disguise. Change, this vital element that makes the engine of the universe run. Since thousands of years ago, waves of change have been coming towards us, one after another, so that life would not be stale water, but a river going forward and taking us all forward with it. I understand that nothing is supposed to stay the same. Life unfolds itself through change, and change creates resistance and fear – fear of daring to let go of the old in order to make room for what is in now and is new. How well we adapt ourselves to change and how well we bend and flex our muscles is what determines if we are resilient and are survivors.

In the last few decades, the most important change which has been happening is the world being computerized, digitally programmed and upgraded. We continue staying stimulated, informed at all times, and we are bombarded with the variety of choices offered to us through the internet and social media. It’s as though we are in an ice cream parlor, finding ourselves confused as to what flavor to pick from this large selection of flavors generously offered to us.

I often ask myself, “In this computerized, mechanical world that we live in, in which we are all over saturated with information; which, like poisoned gas, surrounds and penetrates us; which, like a stranger, breaks into our home without knocking; what is the impact of our digital age on art, literature and music? Do I have to change my approach to what used to be cool to read, see and listen to? Do I have to keep upgrading my mind to its ever changing latest software update? Can I still read Dostoevsky, Lorca, Emily Dickinson and not be too old-fashioned? Can consuming the classics weaken me to the point that I would be walking limply and with a crutch, falling behind this caravan of computerized robots?”

Being on social media made me realize how badly everyone secretly was in need and hungry for attention in this human interaction market of exchange and trade, where everyone is shutting and screaming loud in order to be noticed.

I ask myself, “Am I a container too empty, or am I a container too full? Am I still allowed to create a menu of my own personal choices rather than of what is being fed to me from every direction online?” All of a sudden, we have all become just pieces of unshaped clay on the potter’s wheel, needing badly to be worked on. We are all being programmed for perfection, and we are all in need of going through self-improvement to be better than whatever we presently are. Words of wisdom through social media are coming to us from every direction. I personally find myself blinded by the extreme light of wisdom of everyday people online. We are exchanging with one another our mental saliva in a long, intimate public kiss called social media. It is as though each one of us is playing in our own social media play – every day, the curtain goes up, and we desperately work for likes and applauds from our audience.

I sometimes wonder if I am allowed to be just a small tree, away from this organized forest. Can I just be a small stream running away from this noisy, fast river of advice and information? I ask myself, “Could reading poetry in this digital age be like being on a diet of bread and water?” You would have no meat, no protein, like you are a shaky table, and you have to lean against something steady, so that you would not fall on your face; like you are talking in whisper and being meek, trying not give an impression that you are malnourished or even anemic.

I have always used art and literature, same way a clothes dryer uses its filter to get the lints out. It is my way of purifying my soul. I have always escaped from everything which is not beautiful by reading books.

I have been particularly walking around with this very book of poetry by Federico Garcia Lorca for years, ever since I can remember. I know every poem there; I carry them in my heart. The book sits on my night stand. It is old and faded. On the cover of it, there are a few water stains that are obvious to the eyes. Some pages are already torn; I have taped them together so that the book does not fall apart.

My favorite is the poem titled Romance Sonambulo. I have read this poem aloud to myself so many times, when I have been down and blue, when I have been in love, and when I have been feeling overjoyed by life. I have also read this poem to the people whom I have ever gotten close to and with whom I wanted to share my heart and soul. I guess I have taken shelter in this book. We all need a shelter from the harshness of life, somehow to smooth out its hard edges so it dos not scratch us and make us bleed.

Now, I pick up my book of poetry by Lorca, and I read this, my very favorite poem, to all of you, being watchful that I don’t become all soul and not much of a physical body, all the while that I am sharing this with you good people.

Romance Sonambulo by Federico García Lorca
Green, how I want you green.

Green wind. Green branches.

The ship out on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
With the shade around her waist
she dreams on her balcony,
green flesh, her hair green,
with eyes of cold silver.
Green, how I want you green.
Under the gypsy moon,
all things are watching her
and she cannot see them.

Green, how I want you green.
Big hoarfrost stars
come with the fish of shadow
that opens the road of dawn.
The fig tree rubs its wind
with the sandpaper of its branches,
and the forest, cunning cat,
bristles its brittle fibers.
But who will come? And from where?
She is still on her balcony
green flesh, her hair green,
dreaming in the bitter sea.

—My friend, I want to trade
my horse for her house,
my saddle for her mirror,
my knife for her blanket.
My friend, I come bleeding
from the gates of Cabra.
—If it were possible, my boy,
I’d help you fix that trade.
But now I am not I,
nor is my house now my house.
—My friend, I want to die
decently in my bed.
Of iron, if that’s possible,
with blankets of fine chambray.
Don’t you see the wound I have
from my chest up to my throat?
—Your white shirt has grown
thirsty dark brown roses.
Your blood oozes and flees a
round the corners of your sash.
But now I am not I,
nor is my house now my house.
—Let me climb up, at least,
up to the high balconies;
Let me climb up! Let me,
up to the green balconies.
Railings of the moon
through which the water rumbles.

Now the two friends climb up,
up to the high balconies.
Leaving a trail of blood.
Leaving a trail of teardrops.
Tin bell vines
were trembling on the roofs.
A thousand crystal tambourines
struck at the dawn light.

Green, how I want you green,
green wind, green branches.
The two friends climbed up.
The stiff wind left
in their mouths, a strange taste
of bile, of mint, and of basil
My friend, where is she—tell me—
where is your bitter girl?
How many times she waited for you!
How many times would she wait for you,
cool face, black hair,
on this green balcony!
Over the mouth of the cistern
the gypsy girl was swinging,
green flesh, her hair green,
with eyes of cold silver.
An icicle of moon
holds her up above the water.
The night became intimate
like a little plaza.
Drunken “Guardias Civiles”
were pounding on the door.
Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea.
And the horse on the mountain.


Federico García Lorca

Born near Granada in Fuente Vaqueros, Spain, to a prosperous farm owner and a pianist, prominent 20th-century Spanish poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca studied law at at the University of Granada before relocating to Madrid in 1919 to focus on his writing. In Madrid he joined a group of avant-garde artists that included Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel. The group, collectively known as the “Generation of ’27,” introduced Lorca to Surrealism, a movement that would greatly influence his writing.

Lorca published numerous volumes of poetry during his career, beginning with Impresiones y paisajes (1918). His lyrical work often incorporates elements of Spanish folklore, Andalusian flamenco and Gypsy culture, and cante jondos, or deep songs, while exploring themes of romantic love and tragedy.

With the publication of his poetry collection Romancero Gitano, or Gypsy Ballads (1928), Lorca received significant critical and popular attention, and the following year traveled to New York City, where he found a connection between Spanish deep songs and the African American spirituals he heard in Harlem. When he returned to Spain he co-founded La Barraca, a traveling theater company that performed both Spanish classics and Lorca’s original plays, including the well-known Blood Wedding (1933), in small town squares. Despite the threat of a growing fascist movement in his country, Lorca refused to hide his leftist political views, or his homosexuality, while continuing his ascent as a writer.

In August 1936, at the onset of the Spanish Civil War, Lorca was arrested at his country home in Granada by Francisco Franco’s soldiers. He was executed by a firing squad a few days later.

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