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Prayer for the Sun Before Traveling

July 27, 2008

Ruiz de Alarcón (II:4)

tla cuel
tla xihualmohuica
Nanahuatzin

achtopa niyaz
achtopa notlatocaz
zatepan tiyaz
zatepan totlatocaz

achtopa nictlamiltiz
in centeotlalotli
in cencomolihuic

ca ye niquiczaz
in Tlalli Ixcapactzin

ahmo nechelehuiz
ca ahmo nelli
Tlalli Ixcapactzin

ca zan ilhuicac
ipan nonyaz
ipan ninemiz

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come
help me
Nanahuatzin

I’ll go first
I’ll be on the road first—
then you’ll go
then you’ll follow the road

I’ll be the first to cross
all the desert lands
all the canyon lands

I’ll pass swiftly over
the Earth’s smooth face—

she won’t hinder me
no matter what truly lies
on her smooth face:

up in the sky
I shall go
I shall walk

Francisco Alarcón

Snake Poems, published in 1992, combines translations of the priest’s (Ruiz de Alarcón) texts, the native incantations and original poems by Francisco Alarcón. The book won the Before Columbus Foundation’s 1993 American Book Award.

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