Bird Spirit in the Wellsprings of Daydream. Fredy Chikangana

 Samay pisccok pponccopi muschcoypa / Espíritu de pájaro en pozos de ensueño ©  Fredy Chikangana. Bogotá, Ministerio de Cultura, 2010.

Translation from Spanish © Lorrie Jayne

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The literary work of Fredy Chikangana (Wiñay Mallki, root that remains in time) is fundamental in the history of contemporary Indigenous literatures from Abiayala (the Americas). His verses and essays mirror his life experience between community work and “walking the word” within cross-cultural spaces. From Chikangana, we have learned that “returning to ourselves” is always possible, and that the ancestral territories continue to speak the languages of the land, in this case: Quechua. With his flutes, poems and koka leaves in his chuspa (bag), Chikangana has shared his message of memory and unity from Chile to California, and from South Korea to Italy. Aware of the migrations of his Yanakuna Mitmak ancestors, his verses speak of chaskis (messengers), chakas (bridges), and exchanges. (Juan G. Sánchez Martinez)


callarinasha cusicuymanta huaccayripi
causaypiy llaphllahuachai puka
tukuna rumipi yana
paypicay yupaychayniok cayiniyokmanta uku pacha 
huatanima nukanchi yawar
waskakunawan huaymapacha.
phurupay tukanta
ima huacaychina llimpikuna causaymanta 
yakucapay munainiyok ttukiri
k ́apakpay yachikpayri tucuimanta quihuakuna
ima pusapayayman ananpachaman ukupachaman 
callpawan mosccoykunamanta.

Chaiman pacha quilluyana
rinacay tullu
jaika shimikuna pachamanta chhonccasca tarinakuna
nuka tikramuna caimán llapllahua
millma caimán, yakuman ima llancana aichakuna
nukarina takiman kcaytacunapura huailla quihuachaymanta 
micjunapak mosccutucuy runakunamanta
nuka tukuna kirushata uturunkumanta
taqui tutakunamanta tinya uyhuamanta
kenataquimanta tutaypachajahuaman
ukupachapita urkujatunmanta.

The Earth

The Earth

the beginning of happiness and weeping

within her lives the red placenta

turned to black stone, 

within her exist the rituals of the subterranean beings

that tie our blood

to the creeping vines of time.

Within that earth exists

the feather of the toucan

that keeps the color of life,

the free and restless water exists there

the aroma and taste of all the herbs

that carry us to heaven and hell,

we are there, you and I

with the strength of dreams.

Once the mouth of time has sucked them dry

our bones will go back

to that black and yellow earth;

we will return then to that placenta

to that feather, to the water that touches our bodies,

we will go and sing among the green threads of herbs

and feed the dreams of men.

Once again we will be the tooth of the tiger,

night’s poem, mare’s hoofbeat.

flute song in the deepest hours of night

within the depths of the great mountain.

Caykuna waskamanta sumaimana

Chaipi huchuy llanta chincashcca 
runakuna tucunaq pishcupi
illapay llimpirichakwan ninamanta 
jahuapi catanakuna wassimantakuna. 
Cahuapay puñuipay causaymanta 
callpanchay ñanpay
sonccopaywan pancalla achcallaquimanta.
Ary huaquin utiykuna
ashana japina tusuykuna millmacaymanta 
takipay mucmikuc
ñaupakunamanta cachakuna
richhaycunari runpanakuna
ima llimpiana millmapaymanta
kaykunashapay waskamanta sumaimana 
huarcurimakuna ananpachamanta
kaima maipiman uraikuna huañukuna
jahuinata tucuy mosccoykuna causaykunamanta.

Beings of the Tremendous Liana

In that lost little village

men turn into birds

light up with their fiery colors

above the rooftops of houses.

They look over the sleep of the live ones

so at dawn they might 

revive the way

with hearts made light of so much sorrow.

If one were to ponder them

they would understand the dance of their feathers

in the darkness

the silent song

of ancient messages

and the circular forms

that flash like lightning from their feathers;

they are beings of the tremendous liana

that hangs from the sky

that the dead descend down upon

to paint the dreams of the living.

Takimanta pachakuna

Saramanta nukamantaki
yakumantari noqa samay.
Kunantaki sarunhina paikunataki
sinchina muyu ttillayaima huañuykuna. 
Ary suttuina ima micunakuna pacchakuna.

Saramanta nukamantaki
yakumantari noqa samay.
Causay kunan tarpuymittawan cainamanta 
mishquikunawan atina hark ́aima huañuykuna.

Verses from the Earth

My verses are of corn

and my essence of water

I sing today as they sang before

like a strong seed that dodges death

As does the drop that feeds the fountain

My verses are of corn

and my essence of water

I live with yesterday’s seeding

with the sweet insistence that detains death.

Pacha takipa

Saramanta takiy nuqapi yakuri samay
Taki punchau ñaupakhina taki
k’ullu sonccohima muyu ima nima huañushca 
suttuyhinamicjuchiy pucuycuna.
Saramanta: taki, yaku, samai...
Causay punchau tarpunahuancuna cayna-punchau 
trigo parhuayna poccoy ima sisay pachacunapi.

Chants from the Earth

My songs are of corn, of water my essence

I sing today as they sang before

like the stubborn seed that refuses death

like the drop that feeds the fountain

of corn: songs, water, essence…

I live today with yesterday’s seeding

like the ripe ear of corn that blooms on the earth.

Nukanchis kan causay pachacaypi

Paykan cutanapaykuna quilluzarapay rumijahuapi 
nukanchistaquinakay quenawanihuan tinyacunari tarukamanta 
nukasinaiku shinkayanaiku manapacha
nukachana intita rinaima urkupaypi;
Nukasinaiku nukatusuikuni quenacunawan maquicunapura 
nukawan haku cahuirinahuan pachaukupimanta
pupumaypi inlli cayanaima apanainukari
pachayta Maipú nukausana huañushkuni
nukachaskinakay cushiwan:
«¡Nukanupiana!» niy taita Manuel «causaimari sarapay». 
«¡Nukanupiana!» niy mama Rosario «causaimari pachapay ima
Shuyanan tusuykay jahuapi huachuncuna 
nukasinaiku takinakayri huañushkuwan 
quenaswan machanchinan llaquincuna 
antuchiwan mishkichinam tutacuna 
«¡nukanupiana llakimana! caparipay
«ima nukancharinan causay pachaikay».

We Have Life on This Earth Yet

While they grind the yellow corn on the mortar

we sing with flute and deerskin drums

we laugh, and drink without haste

bid goodnight to the sun who flees through the mountains.

We laugh and dance, flutes in hand

go down towards the depths of the earth

by that warm umbilical that drags us toward 


towards that space where our dead ones live,

they welcome us with happiness

“Let’s drink!” says Grandfather Manuel, “and long live the corn.”

“Let’s drink,” says Mama Rosario, “and long live the precious land that warms us!”

And while we dance upon the furrows

we laugh and sing with our dead,

with our flutes we banish our sorrows

with chicha we sweeten the nights.

“Let us drink without shame!”  they shout,

“We have life yet on this earth.”


Tutamanta kaimi urkuspiri
punkucuna cay k ́anchachii chucchunari
llinpipaywan ninamanta
k ́atcukuna cunapay cahuana tocco huachuchaicaimi
 ima chacay tutayakuna rhupaypak sonkonukan 
runakuna huarmiri yanakunas
ima cay runa ima cay yanapana pachapaipi tutapaimanta 
shimi, huaccay asiri yakushukpi cushnimanta sancju, 
ninapaypi sha callanapaipi
callanapaipiri yana
panccaykuna kokamanta muyuima runpanapi
muyuina pachapay
machupay hamk ́ay panccakuna nina-hasttik
chaimanta apanasha pancakimsa shimicunaman 
mambiari cahuarayai usphakunaman
ccocuy kimsa pancca yuyo ninfita
yallinapay hauanta acchapaymanta
«raquiycamay» niy,
«paykuna munanapas mambiar»
phutuy ninamanta kcaytashuk cushnimanta
imakuna muyuy jahuapi uaikuna
paykan upiana ñanpay ananpachaman;
tapuna sunkupay payapaimanta
«¿kayma niyman ninapay?»
Tiyana chhinshuk paquinima jatapaywan

On Fire

Night falls in the mountain

Doorways brighten and quiver

with the brilliance of the fire

the cracks and windows are the lines

that cross the darkness to warm our hearts

The Yanakuna men and women

solidary beings in times of darkness

speak, cry and laugh in a river of thick smoke

Within the fire sits the clay basin

Within the basin of black clay

the little coca leaf spins in circles

just as time spins.

The elder toasts the leaf and stokes the fire

then brings three leaves to his mouth and

chews the coca looking down upon the ashes

he offers three tender leaves to the fire

passing them above his head

“We must share,” he says

“They, too, want to chew.”

A thread of smoke rises from the fire, takes a turn ´round the kitchen

as it makes its way towards the heavens.

Grandmother’s heart asks:

“What could the fire have spoken?”

A silence abides broken 

by the crackle of dry kindling.

Yuyay yakuk

Cuyak llakta
yanacunas huañuk ñoccanchic shimi rimai purinam. 
Cuerpo yaku licha purina
waiku yuyai
huaira wiñay shuchuna.
Ima yaravi
ñampi ttica maythu quinquinam yaravi
waikus pas urkus cay
yanakuna quilla yachina
inti k›uichi waiku runa.

Memory of Water

Throughout these lands

wander the voices of our deceased yanakunas

The river is their body-they walk with

the memory of water

trembling like a tree in the wind.

This is why I sing

that the flowers and pathways may sing

mountains and lakes

that the moon may know that I am Yanakuna

man of water and rainbow.

Quechua sonccoycaimi

Purinaymi caranuqapi
takipay pisccomanta hullilla tamiakuna 
pponccopay yakumanta chakracunapi 
runari ima purichiy puyu huaylluy.

Quechua sonccoycaimi

imaraykucaina tutakuna nuqapi huakyay 
imaraykukunan chekchipay hanapacha nuqapitapuy 
imaraykupaccarin katin taki
jahuapi usphayaykuna.

Quechua wairacaimi ima cheqquechiy kcaytakuna chakatana 
tutacunapi misterioninari.

Quechua nimacaymi huarmimanta
chaycama yuyai illaypicuna cuyaymantan
manña tullpacunamanta... manña pachakunamanta 
manña ñankunamanta.

Quechua iphupaycaimi paccarincunamanta 
ssimiri ñukanchimanta huañushca.

Quechua sonccopaipi
ima shaikuna pincuylluri tinyapura 
caballupaypi pachamanta sacha 
k ́apayhuan kiñiwa kamchari
 maipi rimay: ñukanchi maiki, 
ñukanchi cara, ñukanchi rimay, 
ñukanchi taki, ñukanchi atipacuk.

Quechua pachamamacay
cunuyachinakuna llapllahuakuna
ñoqari huachana pachaman
shukpi minka atipanakuymanta killari wiñay.

Quechua is my heart

Within my body lives

the song of birds announcing the rain

the pool of water in the garden

and the man who passes by caressing the mist.

Quechua is my heart

for yesterday the night called me

for today the grey in the sky asks me

for tomorrow I will keep on singing

over the ashes.

Quechua is the wind that scatters the threads of the weave

in the mysterious night of candles and oil lamps.

Quechua is the silence of woman

while she dwells upon the absence of her beloved.

at the edge of the tullpa: the stones who keep the fire

…at the edge of the earth

at the edge of a path.

Quechua is the morning dew the voice 

of our dead ones.

Quechua is the heart 

that shakes between flutes and drums

in the neighing of the millenium

with the smell of kiñiwa

and roasted corn,

where we still say: our hands

our bodies, our voice

our music, our resistance.

Quechua is the earth mother

to whom we belong

who shelters the placenta

and delivers us to the world

in a minga* of struggle and permanent moons.


* minga: andean tradition for collaborative effort and community work.

For more about Fredy Chikangana / Wiñay Mallki

Samay pisccok pponccopi muschcoypa / Espíritu de pájaro en pozos de ensueño © Fredy Chikangana

Bird Spirit in the Wellsprings of Daydream © Lorrie Jayne ~ Siwar Mayu, November 2022

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