a. w v VLVG[F
THE DANCE OF YUM KAX, THE HARVEST LORD
I am, my Lord, of autumn-time.
Frosty nights and ripened maize,
Bird-swarms from the north, warm days,
And hint of winter's cold are mine.
Not dead but dying is the year
When men send worship to my ear.
My time of year is only death
If one is blind to use of seed -
Which is Thy masterwork indeed,
Oh Lord, is Thine own gracious breath
Blown earthward every year at fall
To give new life and hope to all.
My portion of the year is best,
The promise bearing time,
The months that bring the hope by which
Men truly live. The rest,
The months remaining out of time,
Deceive, bring blight, are such
As make the sweating human doubt
The joys he knows in mine.
They will forget, their ardor fail
In holy duties owed to Thee;
But in my time they surely see
The wondrous truth of God. Assail
Them not, poor human things, with doom,
But find for mercy yet some room.
Add nothing to the misery
Men know, and hate, and fear;
They are of Thy creation, Lord,
And live alone through Thee.
Now time-begins another year
And Thou canst well afford
A breath of time to let them live
The lives they think are dear.
IV. THE DANCE OF MALINCHE, THE MOTHER EARTH
I am Thy creature, Lord:
Thou art my only sire,
Both harsh and mild
At once; my meat and my ground maize,
My darkest nights, and all my days.
I am Thy creature, Lord:
Of Thy mind and will.
I am water
When Thou sendest down soft rain;
Earth, when Thou art warming sun.
When Thou art night, then I
When day, Thy child is my light.
Thou mak'st a park
Out of Thyself, then I a tree:
My all is the least part of Thee.
I am that child, my Lord,
The children of the earth,
Their homes, their folds,
Their hopes, their prayers: incense
To worship Thee; defense
Against the evil powers
From where I do not know,
But to inflame
The world and all Thy wards
Against Thy wonder-working words.
They are a bulwark for Thee, Lord,
Have turned evil aside
Time and again;
Have always turned again to see
The glory which is only Thee.
Thou art their maker, Lord:
To whom they owe their lives
And all they own.
Their worship is that Thou, oh Lord,
Art Him alone to be adored.
They are of Thee, oh Lord,
Aside from Thee they know
Not flesh, not heart,
Not bodies, nor reflect Thy face,
Nor life, nor Thee.
Now show' them grace.
V. THE DANCE OF ITZAMMA, CHIEFTAN OF THE DEITIE
Idea of the deity arose
In man's most powerful impotency:
He could not aim the lightning's dart; could see
Volcano's fire and molten rock disclose
Some things more powerful than he'd suppose,
What with his tiny fire for cookery,
And woven grass to strain a bit of sea,
And all the little things that mankind-knows.
We are the storied legend sung by night
Through tortures in the minds of certain men.
We are the fresh-found myths in each man's heart
Through which into that chamber comes some light
We are a key for doors tight-locked again,
We are a poem, we are a race apart.
We are the legend, the lively myth, the dream
That shakes them in their thoughtful waking hours
When they become aware of souls in flowers
And take the holy earth in new esteem,
Grow knowing in the power of a beam
From sun or moon. We are the goad, the stimulus
For those who'll urge; a drug for those who will us
So. For softness, a sigh; for some, a scream.
The stuff of deity is always new,
Like mountain streams that, running, cleanse their beds.
The stuff of deity is never old,
Though more antique than time. It comes on cue
Of deepest thoughts that rattle human heads
And makes them wondering, instead of bold.
We are a crystal mirror which reflects
The brightness of what is by all men known,
The endlessness of what they do not own.
The image is but brief, for man corrects
His sight and learns the more, suspects
There is still some he has not learned,
And credits us with wisdom quite unearned:
We are a man-made mirror which reflects.
The knowledge that he was never ours,
And what he does not know is unknown by us.
We are the echoes of a seeking voice
Which cried in an infinity of powers;
But what he listens to was never blown by us
Upon the bearing wind: "Ye men, rejoice!"
This echo that he hears is his own choice:
The earth survives because it is the earth.
But when he is assured of this, his mirth
Laughs out in merry festival, gives birth
To us again, gives gods new lives.
Rejoice, ye prayerful men: the earth survives.