“Chaikonibo”, by Chonon Bensho and Pedro Favaron

  El sueño del mar dietador (The dream of the fasting sea) © Chonon Bensho

Advice and copy-editing in Spanish and Shipibo-Konibo by Manuel Gonzales (Menin Bari) and Eli Sánchez (Pakan Meni) 

Chaikonibo © Translation from Spanish to English by Lorrie Jayne 

Introduction by Juan G. Sánchez Martínez


Inin Niwe (Pedro Favaron) and Chonon Bensho (Astrith Gonzales) are spouses and enrolled members of the Native Community of Santa Clara of Yarinacocha, Shipibo-Konibo nation (Peruvian Amazon), where they founded the Nishi Nete Traditional Medicine Clinic, and an ethnobotanical garden. In recent years, through community work, Chonon and Pedro have shared their oraliture, documentaries, paintings, embroidery and conversations, with those who believe that creativity and clear words can heal the environmental and social imbalance in the Amazon and the world. As a response to the difficulty of making the Shipibo-Konibo ways-of-being intelligible, Chonon and Pedro have chosen a myth-poetic vocabulary to build an intercultural bridge: “the visionary doctors”, “the keepers of the medicines”, “the world of the Inka”, “the liquid wisdom”, “the kené designs”, “the perfumed people”. In constant learning with the Onanya –the community doctors/healers–, Chonon’s images and Pedro’s words/songs seem to be forged in a “vegetal time”. 


Today, with the permission of the Ibo –the Keepers of the medicinal plants–, we present the poem “Chaikonibo” (translated into English by our dear Lorrie Jayne), where Chonon and Pedro translate into a “clear language” a complex experience of purging and reverie. In times of neo-shamanism, cultural appropriations, and migrations of the plants themselves, Pedro and Chonon remind us of traditional understandings of fasting and the link with the forest, as well as the responsibility of the legitimate doctors with the healing of the world. In this poem, the roots are not planted on ethnic, racial, national or religious identities, but on the Earth Mother and memory. Whoever forgets the territory, the river, the community, is at risk, because how can the forgetful-one use the visionary plants? 


Thanks to Chonon Bensho and Inin Niwe (Pedro Favaron) for sharing this poem with Siwar Mayu. Inin Niwe (Pedro Favaron) has published Caminando sobre el abismo: vida y poesía en César Moro (Lima 2003); the novel Puka Allpa (Lima 2015); the poetry collections Movimiento (Buenos Aires 2005), Oeste oriental (Lima 2008) and Manantial Transparente (Mexico 2016); and the research Las visiones y los mundos: sendas visionarias de la Amazonía occidental (Amazon Center for Anthropology and Practical Application, 2017). 



To read Chaikonibo as a PDF,

Chaikonibo

1.

Moatian jonibo
koshi shinayabo ikana iki,
ani shinayabo,
metsá shinayabo.

Jatibi jaton koshi,
jaton onan shinan,
joa iki Nete Iboibakeax
jainoaxribi rao meranoax.

Jaboan onana iki yoyo iti
ani jiwibobetan, 
niibobetan,
isabobetan, parobetan,
ianbobetan, baribetan.

Jatona iká iki koshi joi.
Tsoabi yoyo ibiresyamakatiai
Moatian ikatikanai yoyo iosmabo,
tsokas shinan-omabo.

Non yosibaon
noa yoikatiai 
nete benatian.
Nai iká iki
mai ochoma;
jonibo yoyo ikatikanai
baribetan, wishtinbetan.

Jatibi ikatikanai jaskara joiyabires.

Yapabo,
maimeabo,
peiyabo,
jiwiboanribi
ninkapaokatikanai noa yoyo ikai.
Jaboribi yoyo ipaonike.

Ani ianmeran
Inka japaonike
noa ochoma.

Jakon Inkan
jonibo axea iki
jakoni jati,
jakon akin shinanax,
jatibi menianani,
yoashitima,
jaton mai oroti,
yoá banati,
yoá aki,
jakon akin chopa saweti,
jawetianbi sinakanantima,
jatikaxbi teti.

Moatian jonibo
ikatikanai yoitibo, 
raro shinayabo.
Jabo japaonike jaon rarokanai
Papa Baribetan,
Inkabobetanribi.

Jaskara iitibi
Ikana iki
yoshina bakebokeska.
Jakon akin shinayamakana iki.
Ikana iki yoitimabo,
jakonmai yoyo iki.

Jaskatax Inka pikota iki,
Kaa iki janbiribi jai 
wetsa neteoribiribi,
jakon netenko,
metsá netenko.

Kakin boa iki
ainboyabi benbobo
jakon shinanyabo,
jakoni jaabo,
jan jato axeakeskati jakanabo.
1. 

The ancient ones 
had strong thoughts 
grand thoughts 
beautiful thoughts. 

The unfathomable strength 
of their wise thoughts 
came from the Great Spirit 
and the influence of medicinal plants. 

They knew how to speak 
with the greatest of trees 
with the forest, 
with the birds and the river, 
with the lakes and the sun. 

For them, the word was strong. 
No one spoke just to speak. 
The ancient ones were silent 
neither anxious nor restless.
 
Our grandparents 
told us of the time 
when the world was new. 
The sky was not 
far from the earth, 
mankind could speak 
with the sun and the stars. 

Everyone spoke the same language. 

The fish, 
the beings that walk upon the land, 
the beings that fly 
and the trees 
listened to our word. 
They spoke too.

In a great lake 
lived the Inka 
near to human beings. 

The kind-hearted Inka 
taught the ancient ones 
to live well, 
thinking well, 
sharing everything, 
without stinginess, 
tending the land, 
planting food, 
cooking, 
dressing well 
without ever quarreling, 
working together. 

The ancient ones 
were obedient, 
with happy thoughts. 
They lived with gratitude 
toward Father Sun 
and with the Inka as well. 

But after some time 
they began to behave 
like bedevilled children. 
They no longer thought well. 
They were disobedient 
and they spoke in an improper way. 

So the Inka left, 
and went to live 
in a different world, 
a good world, 
a beautiful world. 

He took with him 
the humble and generous 
men and women, 
those who had lived well, 
as he had taught them. 

2.
(Bewá)

Eara bewai yakake
Inka mai masene
nete xaman paniax
nai neten paniax

paniake kainax
nai nete xamanbi
jakon nete kepenkin
inka nete kepenkin.

Ea bewa bewai
mato non ninkakin
nato bewa bewai
nato metsá bewakan

nato jakon bewakan
koshi shinan bitaana
ani shinan bitaana
non Inka netenxon

non bari papaka
koshi Inka meraya
rao ibo meraya
jakon Inka meraya.

Ea riki Onanya
inkakeskaboribi
jakon xawen Onanya
Inka bake Meraya.

Nokon metsá maiti
inkan metsá maiti
nete maitishoko
keneyaki maiti

Jaton neten yakaxon
bewa bewabainkin
metsá bewabano
bewa bewashamani.
2. 
(Song) 

I am seated and singing 
in the perfect land of the Inka, 
in the depths of the heavens, 
suspended in the sky world, 

hanging in the most high, 
in the depths of the firmament, 
opening with my words 
the perfect world of the Inka 

I am singing a song 
To the health of the sensitive beings 
Intoning a profound song, 
a song of unfathomable beauty, 

a compassionate song that heals 
that carries the strength and spirit 
and infinite thoughts 
from the world of the Inka,
 
from the soul of our Father Sun, 
and the great and wise Inka. 
from the spiritual Keeper of the medicine 
from the wise and generous Inka.
 
I am a great healer 
as were the Inka 
a wise and good man, 
a son of the enlightened Inka. 

I wear a beautiful crown, 
a beautiful Inka crown, 
that holds the whole world 
in its lovely designs. 

In that good world I am seated 
while my soul journeys 
with the force of my beautiful song, 
with the depth of my song.
3.

Nato neten
Banekana iki non papabo
kachianakeskabo
noibatitishokobo,
kikini teti
ja jawekiatikopi
jawen awinbo, jawen bakebo 
waiai, xoboai.
 
Jaskatax jatikopi
non papabo
kikini tetaibo ikatikanai.
Jabo oxas oxayamakatikanai
neteamabi,
bari pikotamabi.
 
Moatian ainbobo
tsinkikatikanai karo jan yoa ati aki,
wai oroi,
xobo matsoti,
mapó akí,
yoman timai,
keweai.
 
Moatian jonibaon
akatikanai nonti akin,
yomerakatikanai yoinabo, yapabo.
Paro, niibo
Ikatiai jainoa jawekiatibo
jawebi maxkayamakatikanai.
 
Moatian jonibo
Ikatiai rao jaweki onanbo
chikish raonti onanbo.
Janin bichin
rayatikopi.
 
Benakatikanai janin jiwi
taweneshaman
janbi wenen-ai.
Tsekakatikanai ja bichi
pachikatikanai
nete beamabi.
Ja xeakatikanai
jaixon samakatikanai
bariapan kaman.
Bakeranonbaon xeakatikanai
rayá inoxon.
 
Jainoaxribi 
manxaman kawati
taxbakan xoxoai.
Ininshaman jiwi
chitari ininkeska
jaonmea onantiribi.
Jawen bichi
iki kinanti
janra poró chokai,
yora jishtiai
rayá itikopi,
mecharibi
manxankeska
ja iki nato jiwi ibo
nama meran noa axeai.
 
Jaskarakopi non yosibo
ipaonike mechabo.
Jiwibaon raomepaokanike.
Nii raobo ikatia jan raomekanaibo.
 
Jawetianki ja bichi tsekakanai
wetsa jiwimea
yoyo ikatikanai ja jiwibetan,
jakon akin yoikin
onanmabo ixon:
 
“Ea mecha imawe,
ea rayá imawe,
jakon shinaya ea inon,
koshi shinaya,
nokon kaibobo jawebi mashkatimakopi”
 
Ja jiwi ibon
ninkakatitai,
jawen jointi oinxon;
jakon shinayarin ixon
koshi  meninoxon,
jawen ani onan shinan.
 
Jiwi taponbora
boai maixamaori
jainoaxribi jene xamaori.
Jawen poyanbo aniai
neteori.
Maimeabo,
jenemeabo,
oimeabo,
bari papa neteorikeabo,
naixamaoriabo
jainoaribi ochaoma Nete Ibora
joai jawen jakon raoboya
jawen onan shinani
niimea raobo.
 
Moatian jakatikanai
nii ochoma.
Ikatikanai onanbo.
Westiora yakatibo jakatiai
ochochashokobo
jatonbiri jakoni jaabo.
Jawin kaiboboiba merati
Bokatikanai nontin.
Paro ikatiai moatianbi
jaton bai
jaskatax jaton kaiboboiba merati.
 
Jonibaon shinan,
jaton jointi
ikatiai rarobires 
paro oinax,
wetsa kaibobo shinantaanan.
 
Yoikatikanai non yosibaon
nete benatian
moatian onayamakatikanai
keweti.
Iikinbi westiora ainbaon
meraa iki parokexakea
metsashoko jene ainbo oxaa
iká iki jawen yora
kewekanbi rakota
kikin metsá.
Jainoax ainbo jawen xobon karibaa iki,
nokoxon tanaa iki ja oina kewebo.
Jainxon peokana iki
chopa keweakin.
 
Parokeska iki kené
Ja iki ianki tekitabo
jemaboribi.
Jatiribibo iki mayakené,
mayá mayabaini
parobokeska.
 
Jatibi jawen metsabo,
jawen raobo,
jatibi jakonbo,
jake jawen mestá kenebo.
 
Noa riki paromea jonibo.
Shipibo-konibo
noa jati atipanyamake
paro ochó.
 
Yosiboan yoikatitai
paro xaman
jake wetsa jonibo
ani shinaya.
 
Moatian Merayabo
jeneori bokatikanai
jain jakatikanai
ja paro jonibobetan
jatonmea onani.
3. 

In this world 
our parents remained 
like orphans 
suffering greatly, 
travailing 
to feed 
their wives and children, 
building homes, planting gardens. 

In order to live 
our parents 
were hard workers. 
They woke 
before dawn, 
before the sun had risen. 

Women of old 
gathered kindling to cook, 
tended the gardens, 
swept the house , 
moulded the clay, 
wove their clothes 
and embroidered them with designs. 

Men of old 
built canoes, 
hunted and fished. 
The river and forests 
gave them all that they needed, 
they lacked nothing.
 
The old ones 
knew the medicinal plants 
that cured laziness. 
The bark of the Tangarana kaspi 
made them hard-workers anew. 

They searched for a Tangarana tree 
tended well 
by its own ants.
Cut the bark 
and soaked it 
before dawn. 
This is what they drank 
and later they fasted 
until noon. 
The youth drank as well 
(the bark of the Tangarana) 
so they could be hard workers. 

They also knew 
the Sarcha Garza tree 
that grows on the edges of lakes. 
A fragrant tree 
that smells of cinnamon 
and holds great knowledge. 
A purgative is prepared 
with it´s bark 
that cleans the stomach 
and wakes the body 
and makes a good worker 
and makes a good fisherman 
like the heron, 
who is the Keeper of that tree 
who transmits his skills and knowledge to us 
through dreams. 

This is why the old ones 
were good fishermen. 
The trees cured them. 
The old ones healed themselves with the land. 

When they stripped the bark 
of a medicinal tree 
they talked with the tree, 
they spoke with respect 
and asked to be taught: 

“Make me a good fisherman, 
Make me a hard-working man, 
a man of good thought, 
strong thought, 
so that my family may lack nothing.¨

The spiritual Keeper of the tree, 
listened to them, 
looked into their hearts: 
if they had good thoughts 
he transmitted his strength to them, 
and his great wisdom. 

The tree roots 
bury themselves in the water 
and beneath the water as well. 
Their branches reach to the sky.
 
From the earth, 
from the rain, 
from the light of Father Sun, 
from the depth of the sky 
and from the Great Spirit 

come the good medicines 
and understandings 
of the plants of the forest. 

The old ones lived 
close to the forest. 
They knew it well. 
Each family lived 
a peaceful life 
far-removed from the others. 
They traveled in canoes 
to visit relatives. 
For the old ones, the rivers 
were the paths 
that united families. 

In their thoughts, 
in their hearts, 
they felt happiness 
contemplating the river, 
remembering their relatives.

Our grandparents told 
that in the beginning of the world 
the ancient ones were not familiar 
with the kené designs. 
Until a woman 
found a gorgeous siren sleeping, 
on the river’s shore. 
Her body embroidered 
with designs of great beauty.

The woman returned to her home; 
upon arrival she drew the designs. 
From that time forward 
the ancient ones began 
to embroider their clothes with designs. 

The kené designs are like rivers 
that unite the lakes 
to the people. 
Some are circular, 
turning and flowing 
like rivers.
 
All that is beautiful, 
all that is medicinal, 
all that is good 
is covered with kené designs.
 
We are people of the river. 
The Shipibo konibo 
we cannot live 
far from the rivers.
 
The grandparents used to tell 
that in the depths of the river 
live other humans 
great wise ones. 
The ancient Meraya 
sunk in the water 
and they went to live 
with the spirits of the river 
so to learn from them.
4.

(Bewá)
 
Paro xaman kanoxon
kanoshaman abano
jene xamankoniax
ani paro xamanbi.
 
Nokon bewa bainkin
jene xaman kanoni.
 
Metsá jene ainbo
jawen yora keweya
metsá yorashamanbi
metsá keweshamanbi.
 
Nonbira yoinon
noabira meninon
jawen ani shinanbo
jawen koshi shinanbo
 
jene nete meninon
jene nete kepenxon
jawen koshi bitaanan
jawen metsá bewakan
 
nonribi onanon
jene metsá netenxon
jawen kewé netenxon
paro xama netenxon.
 
Jawen akoroninbi
kawayonparibano 
jawen koshi biboi
jainbira jonini
 
jene neten jonini
jene koshi jonini
ja jene koiranti
jene nete xamanbi.
 

Jene ibo meraya
merayashama riki
jene rokotorobi
jawen roninbobetan.
 
Jawen noi roninbo
jaton kewé neteo
jaton metsá neteo
jawen paro xamanbi.
4. 
(Song)
 
Binding myself to the depths of the river 
forming a deep connection 
with the depths of the water, 
with the deepest depths of the great river. 

My song finds its way 
toward the depths of the water.
 
Beautiful woman of the waters 
with a body embroidered with designs 
of indescribable beauty, 
embroidered with lovely and deep designs.
 
We speak to her (the woman of the water) 
that she might grant us 
her infinite knowledges 
her strong thoughts 

that she might welcome us in the world of water, 
open the wisdom of the liquid world 
that we might receive its strength 
and its beautiful medicinal songs.
 
Beside her we learn 
the wisdom of the water world 
of the world of embroidered designs, 
the depths of the river world. 

Over the spiritual boat 
(of the woman of the world of water) 
I am walking 
receiving strength 
from the hidden territory 
in which she became a human being,

where the spirit of the water world was born, 
the strong spirit of water, 
who cares for the rivers and lakes, 
the depths of the aquatic world.
 
The wise water woman 
is an enlightened being, 
with extraordinary gifts 
who rules over the dragons,
 
Those colossal serpents 
live in the world of designs, 
in the lovely landscape, 
in the depths of the river.
  Jene Ainbo © Chonon Bensho
5. 
 
Jawetianki moatian jonibo
Onanyakasi
bokatikanai ochó
niimeran  peotashoko akax.
 
Tsekakatikanai jiwi bichibo,
koshi jiwibo,
ani onanyati jiwibo,
inoaxatankeska,
anakeska.
 
Jakoni yoyo ikatikanai
ja rao ibobobetan:
“Ea ani shinan meniwe,
min panati ea meniwe,
maton bewá ea onanmawe,
isinaibo en jato benxoanon,
nokon kaibobo akinon,
Maton neterao ea kepenxonkanwe,
eara raomis ikasai
moatian jonibokeska”.
 
Rao jene xeakatikanai
jainoaxribi peibaon nashikatikanai.
Piamakatikanai
jaweti netebo
jainxon samakatikanai
oxebo winoti
tashioma pii,
bata piamai,
yoranyamai,
jaskati noibatiti
koshi shinaya ikasi
yoitanan:
“Eara ikai ani Onanya joni,
Kikin koshi Onanya,
Jakon Onanya,
Nete Ibon bake”.
 

Jawetianki jawen yoraxama
moa kerasma iketian,
jawen shinan jakon-ira
rao jonibo
jaimashaman
nokokatikanai.
Jawen namameran axeai,
jaton koshi menii,
jaton onan shinan menii.
 
Jaweratoboki Onanya ikasai
iti atipanke jakon shinanya
jato raonkasai
jawen kaibobo
jaton rao bewakan.
Jawetianki samatai
non kayara kai
jatibi netenko:
mai xaman kai
rao taponbomeran;
onanti jawetio chichorin ixon
jawen jene neteoribi;
jainoariibi mananmeran,
shanka neteo,
nai xamao.
 
Ja samataikaya
kai jemabotiibi 
rao nete ibobo,
Chaikonibaon jeman.
Nokokatikanai joni
ja basi samata jonibo,
inin peiraon
nashiabo.
Ja joné jonibo
kenyamai non jakonma  itsa.
Xeteti jake raopei inin
jaskaaraxon chaikonibo 
nokotikopi.
 
Jatonra biai
jakon shinaya jonibo,
jakoni jaa jonibo,
jakon joe Netemeran
jawen jointiabi .
 
Ja joné jonibo
jawetianbi ramianayamakanai.
Kikin raro shinayabo jakanke,
Rao inin poataibo
Nii xamameran
ani jema ochó
weanbotiibi.
Jatibitian raota.
Akanai jatonribi ani xeatiakin
metsonananax ransai,
mashá bewai.
 
Jawetianki westiora Onanya
Chaikoniboiba meratai
aribakanai jaton bake bimakin.
Jabaon jawetianbi potayamai,
akinkanai
isinaibo benxoatikopi .
 
Kikin metsashoko ainbobo
Joxo  tena yorayabo.
 
Jawen rayos Onanya
meniai jawen koshi,
jawen onan shinan,
raonai itikopi
yokakanaibo.
5. 

When the ancient ones 
wanted to be healers and wise on 
they would go live far away (from their families) 
in small retreats in the forest. 

They cut the bark from the trees 
which had spiritual force 
and from the trees with great knowledge 
like the ayahuma and the catahua. 
They spoke with them respectfully, 

with the Keepers of the medicine 
(to ask them to give them their strength, 
their knowledge): 

“Give me a grand thought, 
give me your protection, 
teach me your songs 
to cure the sick, 
to help my family. 
Open the medicinal world, 
I want to be a healer 
a wise one like the ancient ones.” 

They drank the medicinal water 
(in which the bark chips had been soaked) 
or they bathed with the leaves. 
They ate nothing 
for many days 
and then fasted 
for some months 
without salt, 
without sweets, 
without sexual relations, 
in this way they suffered 
with the strong thought 
saying:
 
“I am going to be a great healer, 
a strong healer, 
a good healer, 
son of the Great Spirit.”
 
When the depths of his body 
were clean 
and his thoughts were peaceful 
the medicinal spirits 
nearby 
approached, 
In dreams they taught, 
they gave him strength; 
they gave him wisdom. 

Those who wanted to be healers, 
had to have a strong mind 
and want to cure 
their family 
with the medicinal songs.
 
During the fast 
our spirit travels 
through diverse worlds: 
sinks below the earth 
with the roots of the medicine; 
knows the deepest depths 
of the world of waters; 
as well as the mountains 
the world of rocks 
and the depths of the sky.
 
The spirit of the faster 
travels through spiritual territories 
of the Keepers of the medicinal world, 
and visits the village of the Chaikonibo.
 
Where only those 
who have fasted a long time, 
who have bathed 
with perfumed leaves may arrive.

The hidden spirits 
don’t like bad smells. 
One must wear the scent of a perfumed plant 
to approach 
the Chaikonibo.
 
They welcome only 
those who think well, 
who live in harmony 
with the light of the Great Spirit 
in their heart’s thoughts.
 
The hidden beings (Chaikonibo) 
never argue among themselves. 
They live contentedly, 
emanating their aroma of plants, 
in the deep forest, 
in the creeks 
far from cities. 
Their clothes are adorned. 
They hold celebrations 
and dance hand in hand. 
singing mashá.
 
When a healer 
comes across the Chaikonibo 
they give him their daughters to marry. 
They will never abandon him 
and will help him 
to heal the sick.
 
They are beautiful women 
with very white skin, that gleams.
 
His wise father-in-law 
gives him his strength, 
gives him his knowledge, 
to cure with compassion 
all who ask help. 
6.
(Bewá)

Nokon bewashamanbi
bewashaman kanoni
rao bewashamabi
metsá bewabanon
 
Maya maya bainkin
bewá keneabanon
metsá keneshamanbi
metsá keweabanon.
 
Ea riki Onanya
jakon joni Onanya
rai rokotoroshamani
nokon metsá maiti
 
Nokon maitishamanbi
biri biri mabokin
inin bires maiti
metsá keneshamanbi.
 
Nokon metsá tari
metsá tarishamanbi
joxo tarishamanbi
metsá keweshamanbi
nokon pino tari keweya.
 
Eakaya keyanon
nai xaman panixon
rao nete kepenkin
rao neteshamanbi
 
ani nete kepenkin
metsá nete kepenkin
jakon nete kepenkin
inin nete kepenkin.
 
Inin jema kanoni
chaikonibaon jemakaya
metsá jemashamanbi
jaton metsá xobonbi
 
raro inin nomabo
mayá mashá itikaya.
 
Nato metsá netenko
ea riki awinya
soi noma metsashoko
ja riki nete biriai 
 
nokon papashokobo
raro bewashamanxon.
 
Rao nete ibobo
mayá mayashamani
nonra isinbo benxoai
non metsá bewakan.
 
Ea riki Meraya
moatian jonibokeska
nato xawan benxoai
nato noma benxoai
 
nokon rao bewashamaxon
nete bewa shamaxon
Nete Ibo jakon joi
Nete Ibo rao joi.
6. 
(Song) 

With the depth of my song 
with the deep connection of the song, 
with the profound medicine 
of the beautiful song 

I open the path singing 
I go forth twirling and twirling 
forming a song with designs, 
with deep and lovely designs.
 
I am a traditional healer 
a good and healing man, 
an Onanya of great wisdom, 
with a beautiful crown.
 
I have a profound crown 
that vibrates resplendently 
perfumed and brilliant 
with a design of indescribable beauty.
 
I have a tunic as well, 
a beautiful tunic, 
a white tunic, 
with lovely embroidered designs. 
It is my embroidered tunic 
that the hummingbird gave to me.
 
My soul rises up 
and hangs in the boundless sky 
opening the deepest depths 
of the medicinal world.
 
I open the limitless world, 
the beautiful, inexpressible world. 
the world without evil, the world of good, 
the world of medicinal aroma.

I link myself with the perfumed people, 
with the soul of the Chaikonibo, 
with the profoundness of this village 
with its beautiful houses;
 
happy and fragrant women 
twirl and twirl, dancing the mashá.
 
In that beautiful world 
I have my wife 
she is a lovely bird 
everything in this world shimmers.
 
And my dear grandparents 
sing with great happiness. 

The spirit Keepers of the medicine 
turn round and round from the deepest depths 
curing sickness 
with the soul of our beautiful songs.
 
I have the knowledge of the Meraya 
just as the ancient ones had 
and I am curing this man 
and I am curing this woman 

with the depth of my song, 
and the depth of the medicinal world, 
and the good word of the Great Spirit, 
the medicinal word of God.
7.
 
Moatian jonibo
ikatikanai koshibo onan jonibo.
Jakatikanai Inkan jato axeakeska.
 
Rama Inka jake
wetsa neteori,
wetsa paroori,
noakeskama netenko,
jakon netenko.
Jabo mawayamai,
keyoisma Inka. 
 
Noa riki bakebo
moatian Merayabo. 
Noa iti atipanke jatokeskaribi.
Non yosibo
jake non jointiainko;
bewakanai
Inkabobetan.
 
Non rao onanketian,
non jakon akin samaketian,
yosibaon noa namameran noa benai.
Noa bokanai
non onanyamaa parobaon;
noa onanmakanai icha jawekibo
jatibi raomeranoabo.

Noa koshi menikanai,
jaton onan shinanbo,
jaton ani shinanbo,
jakon joi
tsonbi noa paketimakopi.
 
Ramara noa jake “moderno” netenko
ikaxbi noa shinabenoti atipayamake
non rekenbo.
Jaskatax jatikopi
jemabotiibi nato ani paron,
jatibitian koshi itikopi,
noa jati iki non rao ochoma,
ani nete namati.
 
Rome koinman
non atipanke yoshinbo ishtomakin
noa ramiakasaitian.
 
Non jakon akin samaketian
Chaikonibaon noa axeati atipanke,
jaton koshi menikin,
jaton jakon shinanbo,
noa jakon jatikopi,
ikonshaman jonibokeska itikopi.
7. 

The ancient ones 
were strong and wise. 
They lived as the Inka had taught them. 

The Inka now live 
in another world, 
in another river, 
in a world that is different from ours, 
in a good world 
He never dies, 
He is the Inka eternal. 

We are children 
of the ancient healers 
and we can be as they have been. 
Our grandparents 
live in our hearts; 
and continue to sing 
along with the enlightened Inka. 

If we know our plants, 
if we fast well, 
the grandparents will visit us in dreams. 

They journey with us 
to unknown rivers 
and they teach us many things 
about medicinal plants. 
They give us their strength, 
their wise thoughts, 
their infinite thoughts, 
a good word 
so no one can defeat us.
 
Now we live in the modern world 
but we can never forget 
our ancestors. 
In order to survive 
as a nation of this great river 
we must remain strong, 
close to our medicines,
dreaming of the boundless worlds.

With the smoke of tobacco 
We must dispel the demons 
that would destroy us.
 
If we fast well 
the Chaikonibo can teach us, 
give us their strength, 
their good thoughts, 
that we may live well 
as true human beings.


About the translator

Lorrie Jayne, a collaborator in Siwar Mayu, teaches Spanish, Portuguese, and Personal Narrative in the Languages and Literatures Department at University of North Carolina Asheville (USA). She lives with her husband and daughters in the Appalachian Mountains where she enjoys plants, people, and poetry.

For more about Chonon Bensho, Pedro Favaron and the Shipibo-Konibo nation

Chonon Bensho’s paintings and embroideries, previously featured on Siwar Mayu

MAYA KENÉ designs are a symbol of identity for the Shipibo people

The Shipibo Manifesto, Red Antisuyo :

“NON JOI: Our word”

An explanation of the ancestral use of Ayahuasca, Red Antisuyo:

AYAWASKA