“Flower Song Convocation” at Parabola

Lee van Laer, poetry editor at Parabola, has posted my translation of “Flower Song Convocation,” the 17th poem of the Aztec codex Songs of Mexico, on the magazine’s page. The 1700-word poem is considered the most complete exploration of Nahua esthetic philosophy to survive the Conquest. Check the poem out…

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The Song of Moquihuitzin

The Song of Moquihuitzin I craft all these songs Though even I, Moquihuitzin, Arrived in this world to suffer. I ponder the fleshly ecstasies All the empty bliss— Will we see it end? I wander far and wide, Howling my grief at the yawning sky. Yonder where the flowers blossom…

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A Mexica Woman Addresses Her New Son-in-Law

Here you stand, Our eagle, our jaguar— A jewel for this family, Quetzal-feather, Beloved son. May you never take this union lightly. Already it has become Your world, Your nature— Your life is wholly different now. No longer will your heart Be burdened by vice, For you have abandoned The…

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Where Songs Begin

From my volume of Mesoamerican verse, Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Mayan Poetry (Lamar University Press 2013). This poem is the first in a collection of Nahuatl songs known as the “Cantares Mexicanos” or Songs of Mexico written down by indigenous scholars in the 16th century. The original title of…

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