Monday, May 12, 2014

Flower and Song

Both spirit-filled and transitory, Nahuatl poetry addresses the beauty of flowers. As one website said:

"Poetry in the Aztec world was known as 'flower and song,' the Nahuatl metaphors for art and symbolism. It was the highest art form, and it often celebrated the transient nature of life on earth. The theme of cut flowers was regularly used to symbolize the temporary fragility and beauty of existence."

Each year, the flowers of the Plateau Salish perish with the summer heat, yet their presence represents an endless cycle of life. The flowers wither, but the roots remain. Unfailing, they return again and again, after ten thousand generations or more. Like the Nahuatl, we also sing to the flowers to honor the relationship between us.

Below are some examples of Nahuatl poetry.

Here are the many flowers, 
the beauteous flowers, 
rained down within the house of spring, 
within its painted house, 
and I with them shall make thee glad.

A Flower Song

I was glorified, I was enriched, 
by the flower-sweet song 
as by the smoke of the poyomatl, 
my soul was contented, 
I trembled in spirit, 
I inhaled the sweetness, 
my soul was intoxicated, 
I inhaled the fragrance of delicious flowers 
in the place of riches, 
my soul was drunken with the flowers.

An Otomi Song of the Mexicans

Truly as I walk along, I hear the rocks
 as it were replying to the sweet songs of the flower...

Song at the Beginning

The delicious realms of flowers count their dynasties by short periods; those which in the morning revel proudly in beauty and strength, by evening weep for the sad destruction of their thrones, and for the mishaps which drive them to loss, to poverty, to death and to the grave. All things of earth have an end, and in the midst of the most joyous lives, the breath falters, they fall, they sink into the ground.

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