Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento. Verdes ramas.
–Federico García Lorca, “Romance sonámbulo”
García Lorca’s poem came decades too late to be set to music by the famous Italian composer Joseph Green. You probably know him as Giuseppe Verdi. And it’s not clear whether he would have changed the location, as he sometimes did in his operas. In this case an appropriate change of venue would have been to the United States, to the Green Mountain state of Vermont, whose name comes from French vert ‘green’ and mont ‘mountain.’ English verdure, also from French, means ‘greenery’ (as found in natural scenery), but the Spanish cognate verdura adds, especially in the plural, the sense ‘vegetable greens.’ Corresponding to the noun verdure is the adjective verdant, which lacks a direct Spanish counterpart, while the Spanish verbs verdear and verdecer ‘to turn green,’ lack a direct English counterpart.
©2010 Steven Schwartzman