Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ernesto Cardenal, from "Quetzalcóatl," trans. Clifton Ross

Quetzalcóatl came to Tlapalan
and disappeared into the sea.
He told his people not to cry for him.
                           He would return.
Quetzalcóatl went to Tlapalan, “the land of the Dawn,”
also known as “the land of Red and Black,”
where he died in the year 1 Reed
and was transformed into the Morning Star,
also known as 1 Reed
Which Quetzalcóatl?
                  In this tangle
with which Quetzalcóatl are we left?

Quetzalcóatl, the Feathered Serpent,
the serpent with the feathers of a quetzal.
                  Earth and flight.
The serpent was the earth,
         devourer of life
                  and giver of life.
Serpent-bird=winged matter,
the union of earth with sky.
Earth that rises and sky that descends.
(United at the pinnacle of the pyramid.)
         Erect serpent and descending bird.
Matter ascending toward light.
The struggle of the light.
Venus invisible 90 days.
Afterwards it burns 250 days in the afternoon sky.
Then it disappears 8 days…

It is also said, moyocuyatzin ayac oquijocux, ayac oquipic
which means that no one created him
         but that he created everything
(he who would think or invent himself).
His illuminated face on so many broken potsherds in Mesoamerica…

         creator of pulque and corn.
The God of Tolan, “heart of the people.”
He is the same Ometéotl
         (Ome=Two, Téotl=God),
the Holy Couple
From whence children are sprinkled onto the earth.
The Two-God.
         “The true God and his Wife”
                           (Florentine Codex)

He is the Dialectical God Ometéotl…
He who put corn in our lips.
The Supreme Couple
                  Ome-Tecuitli and Ome-Cíhuatl,
         God and Goddess of Duality.
And what is the child?
                  All of us…

Venus that burns in the evening and the dawn…

And what is Tula?        
                           And what is Tolan?
Tolan means metropolis.
         The polemic of Tula…
Here he cried out toward the place of Duality…

A social structure according to the heavenly bodies.
The reproduction of heaven here on earth:
                  “The rule of Tolan.”
A copy of the cosmos on human scale.
More than a city, a vision…
         An urban copy of heaven.
                  The fall of Tolan,
         …a collective dream.
A social harmony in that Tolan.
A city and over it a sky furrowed with paths,
         the paths of the sun, the moon and the stars…

The unformed stone found form…

         Teotihuacán: Human divinity.
                  Where the serpents flew….
The pyramid of the Moon at the end of the Highway of the Dead…

                  The walls covered over with visions.
Decorations of animal gods or god animals.
         Over the rectilinear architecture
                  (Teotihuacán cubism)
                           the undulating bird serpent,
         the salient smile of stone,
                  animal gods and god animals,
                  animal men and men animals,
                  god men and men gods.
The harmony of heaven was that of society.
City of the Morning Star
                           “that shines over fields and houses”

The buildings like books of stone.
Friezes of walking tigers
there where the buses are now…
         A people no one had seen before.
And soon the military superpower of Mesoamerica.
They opposed the turquoise serpent (Huitzilopochtli)
to the quetzal-feathered serpent (Quetzalcóatl).
         Now Huitzilopochtli,
                           the Lord of war:
                  the supreme god.
After the over throw of the worshipers of Quetzalcóatl
         human sacrifice.

         Huitzilpochtli: militarism…
With Moctezuma a despotism without dissent
But there was an intrinsic contradiction: the tlamatinimes.
On one hand the official mythology
and on the other, the tlamatinimes. The followers of Quetzalcóatl.
They preserved the bright tradition
                  in the libraries with their books of paintings.
“They taught the children to live”…

Humanity must be honored like a precious stone or rich plumage.
(in the Calmecac
         the prehispanic centers of education)
                  Think of him, the Night and the Wind,
         and he will give you delicious dreams,
                           little turtledove.
         They say it is very difficult to live on earth
         place of horrible conflicts,
                           little dove.
And the doctrine was kept alive in the people…
There had been a conflict with Netzahualcoyotl
(cf. Don Juan Pomar, the great grandson of the King of Texcoco
about the religious revlution of Nezahualcoyotl).
                  He declared himself adept of an invisible principle.
                           In the temple of Texcoco, no effigies.
                  The theology of Quetzalcóatl recovered.
The two little figures above are Netzahualcóyotl and Netzahualpili,
below, figures that paint, sculpt, weave and sing.
The song spirals.
The song painted in front of their mouths painted like a flower.
And in the people the doctrine lives…

Chac Mool: the awakening of the Indian, said Martí.
                  Quetzalcóatl, or the historicity of myth.
Carrasco called him subversive.

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