26 February 2009

Ursula K. Le Guin

[from Ursula K. Le Guin's Sixty Odd, Shambala, 1999]

October 11, 1491

In a year and a day
they will be here.
          Do not go down to the seashore!
          Hide the food, the ornaments,
          hide with the children in the mountains!
In a year and a day
the wizards will arrive.
          Do not go forward to them!
          Give them nothing!
You will see three ships come sailing in.
Out of the east the kings will come.
And the world will grow old
that morning. It will begin to die
for the first time. It will die
of the sickness of pustules,
the sickness of coughing,
the sickness of money,
the sickness of landowning,
the sickness of the old god
of the old world, the rich people.

The young world,
the red clay world
of puma, jaguar, buffalo,
of hummingbird, gourd, and sequoia,
of corn, vicuña, sacred tobacco,
the center of the six directions,
the dawn-smelling world, the fern-stem world,
will live for a year and a day.

Then you will go forward with your empty hands,
timid and smiling, and give it to them.

Sixty Odd

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