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.
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.