The Creation of the Moon
The man cut his throat and left his head there. The others went to get it. When they got there they put the head in a sack. Farther on the head fell out onto the ground. They put the head back in the sack. Farther on the head fell out again. Around the first sack they put a second one that was thicker. But the head fell out just the same. It should be explained that they were taking the head to show to the others. They did not put the head back in the sack. They left it in the middle of the road. They went away. They crossed the river. But the head followed them. They climbed up a tree full of fruit to see whether it would go past. The head stopped at the foot of the tree and asked them for some fruit. So the men shook the tree. The head went to get the fruit. Then it asked for some more. So the men shook the tree so that the fruit fell into the water. The head said it couldn't get the fruit from there. So the men threw the fruit a long way to make the head go a long way to get it so they could go. While the head was getting the fruit the men got down from the tree and went on. The head came back and looked at the tree and didn't see anybody so went on rolling down the road. The men had stopped to wait to see whether the head would follow them. They saw the head come rolling. They ran. They got to their hut they told the others that the head was rolling after them and to shut the door. All the huts were closed tight. When it got there the head commanded them to open the doors. The owners would not open them because they were afraid. So the head started to think what it would turn into. If it turned into water they would drink it. If it turned into earth they would walk on it. If it turned into a house they would live in it. If it turned into a steer they would kill it and eat it. If it turned into a cow they would milk it. If it turned into a bean they would cook it. If it turned into the sun When men were cold it would heat them. If it turned into rain the grass would grow and the animals would crop it. So it thought, and it said, "I will turn into the moon." It called, "Open the doors, I want to get my things." They would not open them. The head cried. It called out, "At least give me my two balls of twine." They threw out the two balls of twine through a hole. It took them and threw them into the sky. It asked them to throw it a little stick too to roll the thread around so it could climb up. Then it said, "I can climb, I am going to the sky." It started to climb. The men opened the doors right away. The head went on climbing. The men shouted, "You going to the sky, head?" It didn't answer. As soon as it got to the Sun it turned into the Moon. Toward evening the Moon was white, it was beautiful. And the men were surprised to see that the head had turned into the Moon.
Original text by Anonymous Caxinua Amazon, translated by W. S. Merwin. From Selected Translations by W. S. Merwin. Copyright © 1968 by W. S. Merwin. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The authorship of this poem is unknown.
Date Published: 1968-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/creation-moon