Tikal (Mighty City of the Mayans)

As the crystal mountain waters,
Seeping down since time’s beginning,
Slowly seeping, slowly dripping,
From the ceilings of the caverns,
Forms the wondrous cave formations;
Thus the stories of the ages,
Often told…but never written,
Seeping down through years uncounted,
Through the passing generations,
Through the hearts and minds of people,
Forms the great romantic legends
Of the dwellers of the past.

Let us now retrace a legend
To its source, to its beginning,
To an unknown tributary
Of time’s swiftly flowing river;
Of the days when ancient…Tikal,
Might city of the Mayans,
Rose in all its cultured splendor.
When pyramids were fashioned
As the bases of the temples
Of the many pagan gods.

In that land of master builders,
Land of palaces and temples,
Lived a lesser race of people,
Lived the strange but peaceful Anzecs
In the shadowsof the mountains.
Both nomadic and linguistic
Were the freedom loving Anzecs,
Dwellers of the twisted canyons.

From the wells of Chichen Itza
To the dense and steaming jungles,
From the land of great rain forests
To the sands of distant deserts,
Once the deeds of these strange Anzecs
Over-shadowed Mayan Culture.

Many were the gods of Maya
Yet the Anzecs had but one God,
Only one Great Spirit Father;
And their temples were the caverns,
And their pyramids were mountains.

Once upon a time when Montec
Was exploring distant canyons
The hordes of Mayan warriors
Overwhelmed the tribe of Anzecs,
Took as slaves the Anzec people,
Slaves to build the great stone temples;
Took the bride of mighty Montec,,
Took the one with eyes of starlight,
Took the beautiful Okeena,
Fairest of the Anzec maidens
To the gloomy Mayan dungeons.

Thus it was that mighty Montec,
When returning to the village,
Saw the dreadful devastation.
Then he climbed up to the cliff shelf
High above the shadowed river,
And his heart was filled with sorrow
And he gazed up at the heavens
Where the greatest of volcanoes
Sent smoke signals to the sky.

Then he said, “Oh! Spirit Father,
Thou the master of all mankind,
Give me strength, and give me guidance,
That I may free my people
From the gloom of Mayan dungeons.”
Then the Spirit Father answered,
“Go thee forth and free thy people,
Lead them to the land far northward,
Far beyond the burning desert,
To the land that thou has dreamed of,
There to dwell in peace forever;
For the time shall come when Strange Men,
Sailing o’er the billowed waters,
Shall invade the Mayan Kingdom,
And the proud and cultured Mayans
Will, themselves, be lowly peasants,
When their hearts and dreams are broken,
When their temples are but ruins.”

Often from the lowest classes
Comes a man of brawn and vision,
Born to love and lead his people;
Such a man was mighty Montec,
He the leader of the Anzecs,
He the giant, he the prophet,
He the greatest distance runner,
He the poet and explorer,
He the greatest of the Anzecs
In the valley of Utoka.

It was he who knew his homeland
As no other man before him.
He had roamed the mighty mountains,
Wandered through the great rain forests.
Searched the dense and steaming jungles,
And had crossed the burning desert
To the magic land far northward.

He had stood where great calm waters
Reached out to the flaming sunset,
And had climbed to wind-swept mesas
Where he viewed the purple desert
Reaching out to lofty mountains.
He had found the great cloud gardens
Where the flowers grew abundant.
He had seen the ancient cities
Of the dwellers of the cliff shelves,
And had wandered through the forests,
Through the groves of great Sequoias.
He marveled at the great stone bridges,
And the awesome rock formations,
And great waterfalls cascading.

On the walls of hidden canyons
He found ancient picture writing
Found the ancient hieroglyphics
Of a vanished race of people,
And the picture writing thrilled him
As he read of joys and sorrows
And he knew these ancient people
Loved the mountains just as he did,
That they worshiped only one God,
Only on Great Spirit Father.

It was He who spoke unto me,
And He told me of the Strange Men
Who would sail across the waters
To invade the Mayan Kingdom;
Bearded men of darkened visage,
Garbed in robes of steel and iron.
They shall come in countless numbers
In their search for gold and jewels
They shall kill, and they shall plunder,
And the proud and cultured Mayans
Will be naught but lowly peasants
When their hearts and dreams are broken,
And their temples are but ruins.

Out onto the crowded courtyard
Strode the angry Mayan Ruler,
Dressed in flowing regal garments,
With his royal court about him,
And he shouted to his warriors,
“Bring to me this brazen braggart,
Bring the fair Okeena with him,
Those who would defy the Sun God
Must but pay with death unto him.”

Thus the warriors, now emboldened
By the presence of their Ruler,
Started up the great stone stairway;
But they paused in utter terror
When they saw the mighty Montec.
Saw the brawny Anzec giant
Standing there in all his greatness,
At the summit of the stairway,
With the Idol of the Sun God,
Held above his head extended;
And the mighty Anzec giant,
With his hate and might assembled,
Hurled it down upon the courtyard,
Down upon the Mayan Ruler.
Then he gazed up at the heavens,
And he said, “Oh! Spirit Father,
It is now that thou must help me.”

Then the air was spit asunder
By a great blast from the mountains,
As the greatest of volcanoes
Spewed forth fire, and smoke, and lava,
And they Mayans fled in panic
As they saw their dwelling crumble,
Saw the temples shake and tremble,
Saw the great walls rock and tumble,
Saw the river waters rising
Sweeping o’er the great stone plaza.

Through the smoke, and fire, and water,
Mighty Montec and Okeena,
Saw the death, and the destruction,
Of the Mayans and their city;
They could see the smoke yet rising
Where the streams of molten lava
Flowed down to the stricken city.

From the land of desolation,
Mighty Montec led his people,
Led them through the steaming jungles,
Through the high and mighty moutains,
Split by deep and fierce barrancas,
Led them o’er the burning desert
To the magic land far northward,
To the land that he had dreamed of,
There to find new homes and prosper
In a land of peace and plenty.

Thus we have retraced a legend
To its source, to its beginning,
To the days when mighty Montec
Was the hero of his people,
When he led them on to freedom,
When he saved his fair Okeena,
And today we read the stories
How descendants of the Mayans
Live in poverty as peasants,
Live among the ancient ruins
Of the pyramids and temples,
Built by dwellers of the past.

{Ed. note: On Tikal}

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