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"Jícara" was first published in Spanish and Tzotzil in Xojobal Jalob Te'/Telar Luminario, Pluralia Ediciones y CONACULTA, México D.F., 2013. "Jícara" fue publicado originalmente en español y Tzotzil en Xojobal Jalob Te'/Telar Luminario, Pluralia Ediciones y CONACULTA, México D.F., 2013.

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The sky weeps in abundance,
storing tears in the belly of the earth,
remaining immobile in the mother’s heart.

Far away a song is born in the cave’s throat,
drinking the symphony of the galactic parrot.

The rocks’ roots vibrate,
disturbing wild peat moss.

Jícara, where life bathes.


El cielo llora en abundancia,
almacena lágrimas en el vientre de la tierra,
inmóvil permanence en el corazón de la madre.

Nace lejano canto en la garganta de la cueva,
bebe la sinfonia del pájaro galáctico.

Vibran raíces de rocas,
turba muscínea selvática.

Jícara, dónde se baña la vida.


Ch - epal ok’ li vinajele
li ya’lel sate sts’anisba te yut xch’ut li ch’ul balamile,
te oy te yut yon’ton li me’ile.

X – antalel namal k’ejoj te yut ch’enetik,
sk’upinbe sk’ejoj mutal yut vinajel

Stseltsunaj yi’biltak tonetic
sjoybe stsonte’al te’etik.

Yatineb jay kuxlejal.


Translator’s Note: While the Spanish word la jícara roughly translates to gourd or cup, the meaning of the word in Mexico is more complex. The word may be better thought of as signifying a sort of sacred vessel. I chose to leave the title of the poem untranslated to reflect its symbolic intricacies. The jícara is used for cacao and pulque drinking, ritualized acts stretching back far into Mexico’s pre-hispanic past. As a ceremonial object imbued with cosmological significance, the jícara is linked to the celestial gourd or sacred place where the gods dwell. Partaking in the ritual of drinking from the jícara can, in some ways, be viewed as a communion with deities.

Nota del traductor: La jícara tiene un significado complejo y muchas dimensiones simbólicas; por eso, no traduje el término. Sería mejor pensar en la jícara como un recipiente sagrado. Debido a que es utilizada para beber cacao y pulque, actos ritualizados con raíces en la época prehispánica, la jícara es una parte íntima de la cosmovisión mesoamericana, que vincula la jícara a la calabaza celestial o el lugar sagrado donde habitan los dioses. De alguna manera, se trata de las relaciones con los dioses.

Ruperta Bautista Vázquez is a community educator, writer, anthropologist, translator, and Tzotzil Maya actress, from San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México. She holds degrees in Creative Writing from the Sociedad General de Escritores de México (SOGEM), Indigenous Rights and Cultures from CIESAS-Sureste, and Anthropology from Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas, as well as a Master's Degree in Education and Cultural Diversity.
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