Miguel Ángel Asturias (translation by Robert W. Lebling)



Movingroot of the Flower of the Air


Movingroot of the Flower of the Air,
what do the Hunters dream?

Eagle of Fire,
root of blood-tree root,
red his tracks in the fan of tracks
that go round the lake, before the assault,
he dreams that he sets the lake afire (the most terrible
of nightmares, like augury: the water in flames),
to scorch Quadriheaven, the Man-of-the-Magics
who, transformed to a manikin of straw,
flees from the colored mirrors.

Movingroot of the Flower of the Air,
what do the Hunters dream?

Eagle of Dreams,
root of morro-tree root,
black his tracks in the fan of tracks
that go round the lake, before the assault,
he dreams that he wounds anew the magnetic eye,
lightly sweet, of the mirror-beast
stealer of tracks, prey that now wounded
escapes from his grasp and turns itself into a lake.

Movingroot of the Flower of the Air,
what do the Hunters dream?

Eagle of Clouds,
root of milk-tree root,
white his tracks in the fan of tracks
that go round the lake, before the assault,
he dreams that a storm of hail
puts Quadriheaven, the Man-of-the-Magics, to flight,
transformed into a doll of frost,
a doll with four heads, eight arms,
eight legs, eight feet...

Movingroot of the Flower of the Air,
what do the Hunters dream?

Eagle of Fireflies,
root of yellow mother-of-cacao root,
yellow his tracks in the fan of tracks
that go round the lake, before the assault,
an arrow that fades and flares, pointed
toward the West, he dreams that from a lightning bolt
of sunflowers the Man-of-the-Magics leaps,
converted into an ear of yellow maize.
Movingroot of the Flower of the Air,
what do the Hunters dream?

Eagle of Trees,
root of green-country root,
green his tracks in the fan of tracks
that go round the lake, before the assault,
an arrow of command pointed toward midday,
he dreams that he wounds Quadriheaven,
that he wounds and snatches Quadriheaven, the idol
of the bundle that his entrails conceal,
an idol of transparent lava,
a god-eye formed by the rain.

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