Miguel Ángel Asturias (translation by Robert W. Lebling)

Navels of Sun and Precious Copals

The little bones of the echo
on the tongue of the Forgetful Emissary.

On the tongue of the Forgetful Emissary,
the message of the Goldthinking-star-gods.

"May the mist rise early,
fragrant with tamarind, poplar, suquinay ,
may it spread its cloths over the words
and may the Four Magicians of the Sky be created
with navels of sun and precious copals.

"May they be of black maize,
maize coiled with sexes and snakes,
their hair, their pupils and their dreams.

"May they be of white maize,
maize coiled with sperm and the moon,
their teeth, the quicklime of their corneas,
their bones and their nails.

"And may their flesh be of yellow maize,
moistened in water sweet
with the night of the star
and skinned with quicklime
in blind boil,
the lime of the eyes
of the Twohanded Tattooer,
the one who was destroyed
along with his raisers of worlds of dream
by the man of mud
who in his turn was annihilated
by fire, the laughter of the stones."

And so was created
the Man-of-Four-Magics,
the one who wears bluegreen feathers
of quetzals and flowers covered with dew,
who illuminates and burns like resinous pine,
who sets things alight
in my country forged of honey.

All was visible, except for the moment
of healing the navels
with webs of tobacco smoke
and placing in their folds,
along with the copals of splendor
and dust of worn-out words,
the magic of the three halves.

By the magic of the three halves,
the half which holds things within
becomes magnetized by the sole presence
of the Man-of-the-Four-Magics,
issues from things and penetrates
the interior of that which completes it,
before restoring it, with an unknown half.

By the magic of the three halves,
there is a half that remains in things,
another that leaves and returns to things
and the unknown half, the one that magic adds.

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