Two of my favorite travelers are in Guatemala this week. Their visit to the northernmost Spanish-speaking country in Central America reminded me of a poem I wrote on the plane home from my time in Antigua.

Guatemala

I flew into the unknown,
to a volcanic land where an agrarian people weave cotton cloth in bright rainbow colors.
A land of many fabrics; a pattern for each pueblo.
A land of corn tortillas, black beans, and marimba music.
A land of mixed heritage, Spanish and Mayan;
two fiercely clashing warrior tribes embroiled in an age-old conflict.

A land where hundreds of orchid species bloom like the cheeks of indigenous girls
who flower in the jungles, the mountains, and the valleys.
A land where the names of towns are poetry: Tikal, Antigua, Atitlán, Chichicastenango, Chimaltenango…

A land of cobblestone streets, whitewashed walls, and ancient oak doors.
A land of well-used bicycles; where teenagers, couples, or fathers and sons ride together precariously, yet calmly.
A land where early morning bells beckon worshipers to churches that lie on every other corner.
A land where devout faith and widespread corruption co-habitate knowingly.
A mystical land where long dead saints perform daily miracles.

A land of unceasing beauty; where the face of the volcano changes every hour,
painted shadows drawn at the whim of the clouds and sun.
A land of tropical fruits: mango, pineapple and papaya.
A land of three kinds of limes and bananas in five different shapes and sizes.

A land of yellow-billed toucans, terrifying monkeys that howl like jaguars,
and long iridescent green-tailed Quetzals.
A land of ancient temples rising from the jungle floor into misty clouds.

A land of verdant enchantment and ancient mystery to which my thoughts will often return.

By Rebecca Cuningham

Para leer este poema en español, haz un clic aquí.

One thought on “Guatemalan Fabric

  1. Stunning, especially “devout faith and widespread corruption”. Does Nic get these? He’s down there working for the potential future president. He might really appreciate this too. Hugs, Mom Sent from my iPhone

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