Oh Mayan – poem by mare

Oh Mayan

 

Oh Mayan Woman,

ankles washed by swirling river

while you beat the farm

out of your husband’s soiled pants.

 

Oh Mayan Woman,

as you scour your dishes, your children bathe,

pollywogs in early sun

before Catholic school.

 

The agouti your father hunts,

fresh meat shared,

you scrub the fat and blood

in the current of the Columbia.

 

Your short, stout mothers in pastel dresses

scrub on ageless flat rocks

in shallow river bends.

And turn to disrobe bare-breasted

and kick their heels, to dive

and wash their long black locks.

 

The river,

it runs so clear,

so quick in high rain,

so languid in the sweltering April days.

It is your soul, more than the soil.

 

 

Oh Mayan Woman,

what will you do

when they cut the trees,

and the water runs,

brown,

like your husband’s clothes, so soiled?

 

What will you do

when the flow is choked and

barely ebbs past the village

bend?

 

What will you do

When the primary wilds are entered

in logging force,

the axes of testosterone

power yielding

massacre?

 

Will you know the pain?

Will you see the rape

before it starts –

to hug the chests

and limbs of fellow forest?

To block the cut

before the wounds are

scarred throughout

your head

waters?

 

Or will the attack

be so silent,

and you so innocent –

that your forest maidenheads

will be ripped

before a scream can cry out

loud?

 

Oh Mayan Woman,

beware the wolves,

know of the foreign fangs

with your men,

and fight the insidious teeth of those

so far

removed.

 

Learn to hold those trees,

to guard against the tongues

that fork around  your

quiet ways.

Wake up!

WAKE Up!

 

The trees they call you.

The waters cry your name

each night as you climb

the banks

with dishes clean,

your day

done,

their days,

unknown.

 

 

may 95

md

mare cromwell

Thanks to Carolyn Raffensberger for prompting me to put this poem up here. This comes out of spending a winter just up river from a Mayan village in the remote SW corner of Belize in 94-95. The Belizean government has secretly forged a deal with a logging company from Malaysia to log off large chunks of the rainforest farther upstream and it threatened to wreak havoc on the villagers entire way of life. I spent many hours hanging out with the women by the river, and it was their life blood.

To my knowledge the good news is that since that time the Belizean government had to back down and revoke the contract and the Mayan people have become far more politically astute on how to work as activists to prevent such clandestine agreements. Much of this is thanks to a group called “Ecologic“, which a friend of mine runs.

for the Earth,

m

About Mare Cromwell

Mare Cromwell is the award-winning author of "Messages from Mother.... Earth Mother" and "If I gave you God's phone number....Searching for Spirituality in America." She is currently working on her third book: "The Great Mother Bible." She has studied with Native American teachers for eighteen years and sits on the World Council for Wisdom Gatherings. Mare calls Western Maryland her home. To learn more about her books, go to http://www.pamoonpress.com. (Note: she is a former worm herder. ;~)
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