to count the haab years or katun’oob
that have passed since
the great powerful men
raised the walls of the ancient cities
that we see now
here in the province of the plains,
all these cities scattered
on the earth
here and there, on high hills … a Maya poem.
Put on your beautiful clothes;
the day of happiness has arrived;
comb the tangles from your hair;
put on your most attractive clothes
and your splendid leather … a Maya poem.
The Maya were the only civilization that had a true writing system in the Americas, but catastrophically only a handful of their books survived, the rest burned in the name of religious purity. Like the Aztecs, they too had a tradition of music, song and poetry, most of which is found in a collection called “The Songs of Dzitbalche.”
in the ceiba branches there,
flycatchers, little yellow birds,
cuckoos, mockingbirds there,
the birds of the Lord … a Maya poem.
I come to tell you
that here in this region,
here in this land … a Maya poem.