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from the July/August 2020 issue

Our Father Is Tired

In this poem by Susy Delgado, an exhausted god lets earth descend into darkness and death.

Our First, Original Father
is suddenly old
tired   worn out
he sits   he crouches down
he dozes off
eyes closed to
the soul of the earth
and his home

It’s getting late
they’re blowing already
those winds
of orphanhood

Our First, Original Father
has already lowered his arms
and he no longer
scatters across the rough weather
his wisdom
his aged breath
he no longer bothers with making
a little chair to sit down
in the middle of the primordial night
and in the ancient fog
he no longer braids tight
the gleaming raiment
so that Maino’i1
can fly
the dew up
toward the firmament . . .

has been left
while trying out
a sad little dance . . .

Our First, Original Father
No longer believes in himself
the fire
the fog
like his own children
so that they
extend in their own time
their wisdom
in all the grandeur of the universe
so that they make
a good home
on this little round earth
everything that exists
has to be good . . .

It already died out
the sacred fire
and the fog
dissolved itself into the night
of malignant storms . . .

Our First, Original Father
there is no longer any truth
in what has sprouted
in the depths of his nobility
the flowerings of his thought
and his knowledge
of magical powers.
He’s already abandoned
his plantings
whose beauty
was ineffable
when it awakened in the soul
of each human being
the word . . .

The most coveted flower
of the divine orchard
has already wilted
and its fragile stem
is skin cracked

Our First, Original Father
no longer scatters his seed
in the middle of the earth
where the sweet breezes
unfurl the palms
destined to live
until the end of time
swirling around their trunks
the bed of the earth.

The good winds
have now died down
and the good seeding
has now dried up
and a dark stillness
goes about sowing death.

Our First, Original Father
No longer creates life down there
the old snake
the red cicada
the master of the waters
the noisy lobster 
the red quail 
the armadillo
the owl 
and all kinds
of animals
that must blend
whirl around
the word
that lives
in the earth and the sky . . .

The children of the earth
and their song and their dance
have died out
already forgotten . . .

Our First, Original Father
no longer sends
the Masters of the Fire
who caretake
the murmur of the fire
who tend
as they have always done
the arrival of the new era
that they call
so they will open up their ears

and listen to
the murmur of the fire
the emancipated dancer
to the bedecked chosen men
to the bedecked chosen women  . . .

The Masters of the Fire no longer
have any work to do

now the murmur of the fire
is only a memory . . .

Our First, Original Father
no longer bestows
on the bed of the earth
for the mortal children
of men and women . . .

Our First, Original Father
is now blind . . .

Our First, Original Father
no longer gazes upon
the future . . .

Maino’i: Mbyá Guaraní name of the original hummingbird at Creation. 

Translated from Jopará Guaraní by Susan Smith Nash, PhD.

“Ñanderu ikane’õ ” © Susy Delgado. By arrangement with the author. English translation © 2020 by Susan Smith Nash. Spanish translation © Susy Delgado. All rights reserved.

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