100 Refutations: Day 41

Song without title

There, sings the torcacita
on the branches of the ceiba tree.
There, also, the knife,
the charretero, the
small kukum and the sensontle!
All a-joy
The birds of the Lord God
Likewise, also, the Lady
has her birds: the small
turtledove, the small cardinal,
the chinchin
bacal and the hummingbird too.

These are the birds
of the Beautiful, Lady—she who is the owner.

For if there be joy
amidst animals,
why then, are our hearts
not full too? If the same
are they at dawn:
All a-song, all a-playing
running through their heads.


“Luna de Xelajú,” performed by Gaby Moreno.


Unknown Mayan poet

This poem is taken from the Cantares de Dzitbalché, discovered in 1942 in the Villa of Dzitbalché, Calkiní, Campeche, Mexico. The codex is composed of fifteen religious Mayan songs corresponding to the Cacicazgo de Ah Canul. It is believed to have been composed in 1440, and the poetry found therein is considered a treasure of the poetic cosmogenic vision of the Maya of the region.

For more information, see FAMSI, the Fundación para el Avance de los estudios Mesoamericanos, Inc.

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V.

Lina M. Ferreira C.-V. earned MFAs in creative nonfiction writing and literary translation from The University of Iowa. She is the author of Drown Sever Sing from Anomalous Press and Don’t Come Back from Mad River Books, as well as editor, with Sarah Viren, of the forthcoming anthology Essaying the Americas. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and translation work has been featured in journals including Bellingham ReviewChicago ReviewFourth GenreBrevityPoets & Writers, and The Sunday Rumpus, among others. She won Best of the Net and Iron Horse Review’s Discovered Voices Award, has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and is a Rona Jaffe fellow. She moved from Colombia to China to Columbus, Ohio to Richmond, Virginia, where she works as an assistant professor for Virginia Commonwealth University. Visit www.linawritesessays.com.

English translation copyright (c) Lina M. Ferreira C.-V., 2018.