( Lines inspired by my visit to the exhibition called Mayas: Revelation of an Endless Time, World Museum, Liverpool, England. )
A mask of jade and shell
to outlast your face of bone and skin,
your portrait, Balamku,
to wear when the long path you begin.
Your people live in the museum,
at least those who carved in stone.
I saw the head of the pelican,
the gods who woke the worlds alone.
A woman writing
one carving was named.
A jaguar lept from the jungle
that was never tamed.
The conquest of the New World
is how they remember what was done
to the Maya of the corn fields,
who built the Pyramid of the Sun.
In galleons like sailing forts
with sword and cannon ball,
the invaders from the ocean
brought about the Mayan fall.
They cared not for your wisdom
or where your corn was stored.
It was your gold they wanted,
enough to call a hoard.
Your spirit is free now, Balamku,
as when you were a Mayan child,
free of feuds and stones of sacrifice,
to your temple run, through the jungle wild.
To my comfort, your people live on, Balamku.
They preserve your pyramids, your calendars of time.
They have not forgotten you.
Let me now humbly bless the Maya in my rhyme.