Blood and Flowers: The Aztecs
April 22, 2011

“Will I have to go like the flowers that perish?

Will nothing remain of my name?

Nothing of my fame here on earth?

At least my flowers, at least my songs!

Earth is the region of the fleeting moment.

Is it also thus in the place

where in some way one lives?

Is there joy there, is there friendship?

Or is it only here on earth

we come to know our faces?”

     – Ayocuan, Nahua poet, (c. 1490)

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[26] “Oh come with Khayyam, and leave the wise

To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;

One Thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;

The Flower that once has blown forever dies.”

[48] “While the Rose blows along the River Brink,

With old Khayyam the Ruby Vintage drink:

And when the Angel with his darker Draught

Draws up to thee — take that, and do not shrink.”

–Omar Khayyam, Persian poet, (c. 1120) “Rubaiyat,” (Fitzgerald, tr.) 

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“We will pass away. I, NezahualCóyotl, say, Enjoy!

Do we really live on earth? Ohuaya ohuaya!

Not forever on earth, only a brief time here!

Even jades fracture; even gold ruptures, even quetzal plumes tear:

Not forever on earth: only a brief time here! Ohuaya ohuaya!”

–Nezahualcoyotl, Nahua poet, (1402-1472 ce.) “The Flower Tree”

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Excerpt from 500 Nations (CBS):

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AZTEC POETRY: Information and Translations

 The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire: Getty Villa Exhibition

CHINAMPAS: The Original Aztec Aquaponics!

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