Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The making of an Aztec Drum

Gina MarySol Ruiz

Ancient grandfather of times long past
Aztlan, El Gran Tenochtítlan Pyramids of the Sun and Moon
The Rabbit in the Moon Navel of Mextli, la luna Mexico,
Me-shee-co pronounced with that soft “x”
ssh… like a whisper in our flowery, melodic Nahuatl.
Oh Ancient one, ancient drum
Made of the sacred tree
Stripped of bark and
Hollowed out by fiery coals
Lovingly carved and
Fitted with just the right skin
Of a deer or other mammal
The one that calls, that
Produces just the right timbre.
While copal - another ancient one
Burns in the copalero
Sinuously gliding up to heaven
Huehuetl, old grandfather
Náhuatl name for drum
Sometimes over a year in the making
Prayed over, dreamed about, longed for
Work and time offered as sacrifice
To the old ones, los antepasados
Each chip of the wood, each shaving
A piece of our culture saved
Preserved, for times to come
Xipe Totec – la nueva vida
The new life – springtime.
A new drum, ancient father
In your likeness
In defiance of La Conquista
They conquered nothing Abuelo
Porque aquí estamos toda día
We are still here fighting
Loving, remembering, honoring
Ustedes los anicianos
With every beat of our drums
Our hearts – corazon - yollotl
Our souls – alma - elhuayotl
Our memories – recuerdo - tlalnamiquiliztli
Our dreams –sueños – cochitlehua
Huehuetl, querido anciano
Cherished drum of los Mexicanos
We are still here in spite of Genocide, torture, rape
Stripped of our language, our bright feathers
Our children, our elders
Our warriors so brave in battle
Over 500 years
A new century in this, our stolen land
And we are still here
Grandfather, abuelo, huehuetl mio
You hold my culture in your steady beat
My son releases your music, your heartbeat
At the ceremony of Tonantzin,
Virgen de Guadalupe Mother Earth
And we dance, querido abuelo
For the ancient ones
Those whose dreams were stolen
And our feathers shine brightly
In our headdresses
Quivering with joy
As we do the danza, the sacred prayers
El circulo
The never ending circle