Poetry of Existence

El homenaje al Ballet Folklorico de México


Who am I

A bird

I fly about

I sing of flowers

I compose songs and dances

butterflies of song and dance


In my ritual feathers

I erect a tabernacle

to Xochipilli

Flower God of song and dance

Inside his suchil

is the mirror that sees

holy incense blowing toward

four cardinal points of our Cosmos:

            Villia de Guadalupe- North

            Chalma- South

            Los Remedios-West

            Amecameca- East


In a dream the sword of España

pierces Moctezuma’s heart

The King of the Aztecs shoulders the vision

unfurling effulgent feathers of a sacred bird

ascends skyward

winging to the four corners of his world

to warn his flock -

the siege of the stranger

will soon scorch

the sanctuary of the Aztec soul

He finds strength

In the Feather Dance of Oaxaca



In the temple

I venerate

souls of the concheros

with flower-filled tears

Let a tribute burst forth

from my soul

Let our hearts be delighted

in the Dance of Los Concheros



We have come

O my friends

from Campeche

with the dances Campechito

and La Guaranducha

we entwine you

in costumes of color

we are adorned


How bright we shine

Zapotecs of Chiapas

We have polished our dances

that glimmer like the gold and silver

of our handcrafts

Indios, we consumed España

but created our own tenderness

elegant moments

Son de la marimba, San Christobal and



Sacred Deer

you hear the sonajas

as Yaqui pascolas of the northwest

draw near

rattling your nerve

with the wooded vision of forest eyes

they stalk you

O holy animal


you are swifter

than the hunter’s arrow

hidden amid Sinaloan shades

you spring forth and attack

in struggle you die

the flute your plaintive companion

echoing the fading drum beat

of your heart



They have come, my friends

from Michoacan

to celebrate the past

the secrets of the ancient Tarascans


our modern eye


In my hand

the dry land of El Norte

in my mind the moist memory

of Irish hornpipes

German schottishes

and Polish polkas

in Chihuahua and Durango

in Sonora and Coahuila

we remember the blue-eyed music

and dance joyfully western style

Taratan, Sapo y La Rana and Capsula



with fiddle and accordion

over and over


In the green land

of Tamaulipas

slowly you glide toward me


your dancing huapango feet

work hard on the platform

to win my eye in Ciudad Victoria

your heart a violin pulsating my name

La Rosa, La Rosa

tugs at the strings

of my huapanguera

soon a high voice

carries me aloft

I rest my jarana

look into your face

El Querreque

the irony of death


From the Totonac images of long ago

Sones Jarochos burst forth

rushing along the blue coast

of Vera Cruz

It is Fandango Time

the tarima is raised

instruments embraced-

harp, requinto and jarana

await the master’s touch

the impassioned feet tingle

now, Jarocho

Improvise before our eyes

in your guayaberra shirt

your boots send rapid fiery sparks

rivaling heat of a tropical sun

behind your fan

ruffled white train to the winds

Jarocha, you seem flamenco-formed

but your footwork fast and light

a Tlingo Lingo delight

gives you away



Behind a stoic smile

I hide my sadness

my hurt

I hear your trumpets, España

you rudely awake me

with your violins and guitars

but I, Mestizo

listen absorb refashion

and the Son Mariachi is born

In the dark of night I unmask

with mournful gritos

volcanic cries

erupting as zapateados

pounding my frustration

into the Jalisco earth

La Negra, Gavilan, Pasajero

sweep across the sombrero’s brim

El Charro sends his heartbeat home

like a prancing horse

with the sweet syrup of the Jarabe Tapatio

on his lips



Pura Puebla

your children touch us

with jarabes old and new

strolling musicians

drawing your dancing daughter,

La China Poblana,

Into our midst

Come, Mariachero

and play for my wedding in Nayarit

let only joy only songs

enfold us

our hearts are in ecstasy

full of rapture

our friends join us in celebration

we are one today

in El Son del Buey

Just as the men return

triumphant from the field

their machetes elevated

so too our love

ascends heaven-ward

cuts across time

reaping a harvest of oneness

            Mis bailes

            son las flores

            mariposas de mi canto

            que brotan de mi alma

            gusto de mi corazon


I come

laughing from Campeche

I wink

as I dance Pavito

my movement a flower opening

in the morning mist

of Ciudad del Carmen

listen to my song

see me dance


your white costume

against the blue sky

sets off my satin laced blouse

embroidered with flowers

around my waist, your arm

strong and steady

my soul is swept up

in the full skirts of

El Jabali, Tortuga and El Sapo

as you and I flirt in Chiapas


Up from Valparaiso

Chileans touched Guerreros’s coast

now we boast of a Chilean girl

who dances La Son Marquena for us


            Guerrero es mi region

            Era todo lo que teniamos

            Era todo lo que necesitabamos

            En el cielo era nuestro

            Y los dioses, nuestro eran tambien


            Guerrero es mi region


once in the shadow of your sister, Tapatia

sing your own song and claim

your own dances on La Costa

Vuela Paloma, Novillo Despuntado and Paraleno


From the isle of Janitzio

in the lake of Patzcuaro, Michoacan

St. James waves his hand

against the marching Moors


beneath a pearl-laden turban

your face hides the meaning

of the Crusade

reveal to us those mysteries

the secrets of before

in the Danza de los Morros


In Puebla we saw a Black mother

bend in prayer over her child

writhing in pain

from the culebra’s bite

we capture her story

in the dance of Los Negritos


Like La Bruja

Vera Cruz bewitches me

with her Afro-Caribbean beat

enchanting dove of love

binding mi corazon with yours

Jarocha of Vera Cruz

your lace shawl falls over

dark shoulders that intrigue me


you sting my soul as if you were

La Iguana’s tail

Ay, Nicolas

Where are you, my beloved?

in the town again

with someone new

while I am at home

waiting dutifully for you


I laugh and cry

a motion of emotion

sizzling in my Mestizo soul

at night the music I make

fills the air

forging a new identity

in the light of day

on the cobblestones

you hear horse’s hoof beats

but it is really

my dancing feet

on the blood drenched soil

of Jalisco

in bold zapateados

to the center of the earth

my message of gusto in

El Son de Ausente and El Huizache


I want to share my joy with you

please come down from the mountain

Llttle shy vacilla, spend the evening

with me under my sombrero

the stars will guide you to my heart

the moon will eclipse your fears

come to me, I beseech you

attend to me please

Son de la Vacilla




Siobhán Ó Mócháin Breathnach 

April 7, 1979