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Going Away – A Poem from the Quechua

Post Series: Poetry Thursday

This Thursday we have an unusual poem to share. This poem, called “Going Away”, is actually a song translated from Quechua. The Quechuas, who live on the altiplano of Peru and Bolivia, had no written language. This song was first written down as a Spanish translation around the mid-nineteenth century. Mark Strand, in his book “Looking for Poetry”, translated the Spanish translation into English with the goal of keeping the emotional appeal intact.

 

Going Away

I am supposed to go today,
but I won’t, I’ll go tomorrow.
You’ll see me playing a flute
made of a fly’s bone,
my flag will be a spider’s web,
my drum the egg of an ant,
and my cap,
my cap will be a hummingbird’s nest.

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