The Road to Unishcoto (El Camino a Unishcoto) English and Spanish
The Road to Unishcoto
[The ‘Wanka’s Last Battle’]
A Poetic Adventure from the 13th Century
And Other Poetic Writings on the Mantaro Valley
By Dennis L. Siluk
In English and Spanish [Español]
Poet Laureate of San Jeronimo, Peru
(Awaraded the Cross of the City)
Copyright © 2007 Dennis L. Siluk
The Road to Unishcoto
[The Wanka’s Last Battle]
And Other Poetic Writings on the Mantaro Valley
Illustrations by the Author
Special regard is given to the following individuals for their support in the writing of this book “The Road to Unishcoto” (and other Poetic Writings):
1—Angela Arias—ATV (TV) Channel 12
2—Nilo Calero—Editor—Primicia Newspaper
3—Carol Villavicencio—Journalist Primicia Newspaper (Photographer)
4—Godo Bonilla—Manager—Primicia Newspaper
5—Celso Lostanao—Director Library of Municipality of Huancayo
6—Nestor Puicon—Radio Senorial 88.3. FM
7—Lily Unchupaico—Radio Super Latina
Diana Unchupaico, Pedro Montero, and Roel Seguil
8—Mayor of Sapallanga: Luis Alberto Perez Peralta
9—Raul Mayo: EL Comercio Newspaper
10—Rosa Penaloza de Siluk (for her translations)
11—Eduardo Cardenas Sr. and Eduardo Cardenas Jr of. Radio Universitaria 89.5 FM
12—Nancy and Mini Penaloza (for support)
13—Joseito Arrieta (for support and publicity)
14—Flor de Maria Orozco, Secretary of Culture of Municipality of Concepcion.
15—Vannezza Gamarra (for her tour to Piedra Parada)
16—Jose Antonio Isla Cordova (for showing the project of the Construction of Piedra Parada).
17—Antonio Castillo of Los Andes University (for support)
18—Adelmo Huamani of Los Andes University (for support)
Mayor Jesús Vargas (of San Jeronimo de Tunan),
Mayor Jesus Chipana Hurtado (of Concepcion).
Sleep Well Huancayo
Just before twilight, as the sun descends
Behind the mountains of Huancayo
It leaves a rosy crusty glow
To its rolling slopes—,
As if to say:
“Sleep well Huancayo!”
And Other Selected Poems
Inspirational and Deep Thoughts (Poems)
Sleep Well Huancayo
1—Grand Market Festival of Huancayo
2—The Sighting of Mary (Miracle at Sapallanga)
In Spanish and English
3— Slaying of the Wanka Warrior
5—The Art of Life
6— Red Roof over Huancayo
7—The Wanka Warrior’s Love
8—Testimony to the Morning
(Over Huancayo’s ‘Plaza de Arms’)
9—Faces in the Plaza De Arms
In Spanish and English
11—Virgin of the Mercedes
12—Sipan (of: Lambayeque)
A Four Part Poem for the Inauguration of the statue:
Virgin Mary, of the City, Concepcion, Peru
Plus Morning Ghost of Ugarte House.
Un Poema de cuatro Partes para la
Inauguración de la: Santísima
Virgen de Inmaculada ñ Concepción, Patrona
De la Ciudad Concepción, Perú
Plus Morning Ghost of Ugarte House.
The Road to Unishcoto
Advance: The Road to Unishcoto
(Introducton to the Wanka Warrior)
Hawks over the Valley
First Faction: the Warrior (1 thru 4)
Second Faction: The Great Warrior (Parts One thru Five)
After the Battle: Parts Six and Seven
Interlude: Last Kill
(Or Battle of the Jackal)
Part Eight: Spring and Decay (grieving)
Part Nine: The Ghost of Weeping (conclusion)
—Stone Oven (Independent Poem)
—Stone Window (Independent Poem)
Afterward (Epitaph): The House on Unishcoto
1) The Poet’s Shoes (Part I)
2) Substanceof the Poem (Part II)
San Roque de San Jerónimo, Perú
And other Selected Poem
(And Poetic Thoughts)
The Grand Market Festival of Huancayo
There is no silence
In the grand market place
Eyes all around
Flickering like candle sticks
At the many possibilities.
So many people
Like swarms of flies
(darting here and there)
Darkening the market fest
(of their golden Sundays).
Yes—! Oh yes! A motionless sea
(people on a voyage)): children
dogs, women, men—hunting
Into my eyes…
Into my head!...
Note: #1457 (9/10/06); the Grand Market Festival is held every Sunday in Huancayo; it is perhaps a mile long with open tents, and with everything under the sun, a most cordial event.
The Sighting of Mary
(The Miracle at Sapallanga))1820s))
In silence and
forevermore, I stood
upon a mountain top
where many stood before,
and blue gold and
yellow gold were the
clouds upon the sky…
startling it was, as a
mist, enfolded, descended
the mountain top
like a lake where
marble angels stood,
held like ruby-stones
in Heaven’s hand.
And there I beheld her
as she stood in her grace,
stars upon her lovely face,
and whence she come
there was no trace.
Holy, holy was the
cast in love by Christ.
Fair, fair was she as
Venus of the sky,
starlight in her eyes;
weak with the sight
I leaned upon a rock
listened to my soul,
music rendered (somewhere)
from the unknown….
It was as if she stood
in a silent shrine—
and she sent forth her gaze
throughout the mountain top;
then she sent forth
to the little town
below Heaven’s silver breasts
(and so—, now the
legend is told…).
Notes: #1459 (9/12/2006). On top of the mountain called, St. Christopher, near the town-let called Sapallanga, perhaps ten miles from Huancayo, Peru, in the Mantaro Valley, twenty-children in the early 1820s saw a vision of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ; thus, since—once a year a festival is held in her honor and for that special happening.
The Chutos parade down the streets of this little village, with the Chonguinadas, as they hack, slice, and slash their whips as the protectors of these dancers, as the festival goes on for approximately three days.
Poem: dedicated to the Mayor of Sapallanga, Luis Alberto Perez Peralta, who was kind enough to welcome and escort me and my wife around the city and inform me of the legend, and point out the mountain and its pilgrims that hike up to the top to the little church to give homage to the event (and special thanks to Lily Unchupaico, for her tour of the fest).
La Aparición de María
(El Milagro de Sapallanga))1820s)
En silencio y
por siempre jamás, estuve
sobre una cima de montaña
donde muchos estuvieron antes,
y oro azul y
oro amarillo eran las
nubes sobre el cielo…
asombroso era, mientras una
niebla, envuelta, bajó de
la cima de la montaña
como un lago donde
ángeles de mármol estuvieron de pie,
sostenidos como piedras de rubíes
en la mano del Cielo.
Y allí la contemplé
mientras ella estuvo en su gracia,
estrellas sobre su cara encantadora,
y de dónde ella viene
no había ningún rastro.
Santo, santo era las
palabras del Serafín joven,
moldeado en amor por Cristo.
Muy bonita, muy bonita era ella como
Venus del cielo,
luz de las estrellas en sus ojos;
débil por la visión
me incliné sobre una roca
escuché a mi alma,
música dada (en algún sitio)
Era como si ella estuvo de pie
en un santuario silencioso—
y ella envió en adelante su mirada fija
en todas partes de la cima de montaña;
entonces ella envió en adelante
a la pequeña ciudad
bajo de los pechos de plata del Cielo
(y entonces—, ahora la
leyenda es contada…).
Apuntes: # 1459 (12/Septiembre/2006). Sobre la cima de la montaña llamada San Cristóbal, cerca de la ciudad pequeña llamada Sapallanga, quizás a diez millas de Huancayo, Perú, en el Valle del Mantaro, veinte niños a principios de los años 1820 vieron una visión de la Virgen María, la Madre de Cristo; así, una vez al año un festival es llevado a cabo en su honor y por aquel acontecimiento especial.
El desfile de los “Chutos” abajo de las calles de este pequeño pueblo, con las Chonguinadas, mientras ellos tiran sus azotes como los protectores de estos bailarines, mientras el festival continúa durante aproximadamente tres días.
Poema: dedicado al Alcalde de Sapallanga, Luis Alberto Pérez Peralta, quien fue bastante amable en darnos la bienvenida y escoltarnos a mi esposa y a mí alrededor de la ciudad e informarme de la leyenda, y enseñarnos la montaña y sus peregrinos que van de excursión hasta la pequeña iglesia que está en la cima para dar su homenaje (y gracias especiales al Lily Unchupaico, por mostrarnos el festival).
Slaying of the Wanka Warrior
On a far night, on a far mountain,
under twilight, the moon swung cold
I lay upon fallen leaves, as trees
Fainting, I dreamt of her lovely face:
but she of mine no more…:
a Wanka Warrior had I been,
but dead, I was no more!
She buried me in spring, a pale
star, I had been…:
on a far night, on a far mountain,
Here at the death level I stood, seeing nothing, save a gray to charcoal mist lapping its way towards me; it filled everything, like a hawk’s settling wings. Life was a vague thing, a thing felt, a moment ago, rather than now. I swam in the air, circling the place where I was slowly, steadily, observing this new immensity, limitless vagueness, and I discovered the center was I.
It was on my right, I told myself “Over there!” I had a faint uneasiness, an exasperation you could say: I reassured myself, and went in that direction; the mist remained as it was—.
As I looked closer, I saw an eye, and relief came over me—I found what I had almost lost—life (I got my wind back).
Notes: Dedicated to those contemplating suicide (see “The Wanka Today”); suicide is never a solution to a problem, it is an end to a situation, and thus, the problem which is normally under the situation, is never looked at. Suggestion: find someone who will listen to you, and look at the problem.
The Art of Life
The art of life is to live life in the moment—a wonderful complete existence involves the soul. It involves putting pretense aside so you can really be alive, before you die (for normally on the death bed is when we put pretence where it belongs)) and it is not under the pillow)).
This is perhaps the greatest function of art: to do the best one can, with what one has, now (in the moment). The scent of bewilderment resides in the idea: art is only a picture, a landscape.
Art is (or can be) a garden; now you need to plant, thus, you need the seeds; gardens are or can be any old place, throughout the world, it is the seeds, the damn seeds that make the difference, and what you plant, YOU REAP.
Hence, when the soul gets hungry is when true art finds its purpose to exist.
Real and Puno Streets (Huancayo)
Red Roof over Huancayo
(In Huancaoy, Peru)
I sit on the edge of a bench
in the Plaza de Arms—sit-in silent awe!...
as the edge of the blood red disc (the sun)
floats upon the stone surface of this platform:
and over the reddened roof of the cathedral.
The blazing orb—meets the sierras and sky
which finds a pathway to me as I read Vallejo.
#1479 9-23-206 (Note: there are many lazy days to sit under the sun, in the Plaza de Arms, in Huancayo, with a nice book to read; why it took me so long to discover this is beyond me)
The Wanka Warrior’s Love
O’ lay her softly where the songbirds are nesting
For now is the time for resting,
For her whose heart was sad.
Gone is her grieving to a place forgotten,
Neither roses nor the sun.
Deep was her sorrow and her slumber
Her heart, forgotten on tomorrow
And on tomorrow‘s sorrow.
Testimony to the Morning
(Over Huancayo’s ‘Plaza de Arms’)
The sky has lightened over the city….
The rain and darkness faded over night….
From the far off portholes, in the sky,
Silently, the clouds of the morning creep forth!
It is time to see what peace they bring….
The beast of the night is gone!
Afar the sun raises (comes).
Remote in silence I rest
(looking over the city to the mountains)
Unto thine eyes eternity.
Somewhere as I look up unto the
Oblivious to hours that’s gone by…
Silently I turn a page of MY book,
And ampler fates!
Dedicated to Raul Mayo: EL Comercio Newspaper (9:30 AM) #1471; written at the Plaza de Arms, in Huancayo, Peru.
Faces in the Plaza De Arms
I tiptoed with my eyes, and as I did I saw in so many faces (in the Plaza de Arms) the sun, the darkness, edges of quietness, gates that want to open that never will, and waves of love, abysses here and there, and storms. Then three police officers walk by, break my concentration, stop, we shake hands, smile, their eyes have cosmic tides in them, they are the princes of the park!
And to and fro walk the shoeshine boys (of which I was once one, now just a reminisce); and the paper sellers (again, I say, just a muse over); they are all simply trying to make a living, all part of this park system. And there is a camera man, red hat, white shirt, pot belly; and lovers reading letters nearby. Then I think: funny…no dogs!
Next, Carol comes along, a reporter, and a friend of mine (from the ‘Primicia’ newspaper). Says hello, she’s always smiling: youth that has not faded or gone cold; I see in her unknown heights, immutable infinities.
The sun now caresses the park (and all its faces); tomorrow I think tomorrow, there will be more sun, more darkness, edges of quietness, gates that will never be opened in so many faces; and there I shall be, tiptoeing again.
#1472 9-19-2006 Dedicated to Carol Villavicencio
(September in La Plaza de Arms))
Each day the warm sun seeps
Over the horizon—to the
Plaza de Arms in Huancayo.
Under the archway of the cathedral—
An old man (stone statue) holds the world
in his hands (as the sun rustles in on him).
Both good and evil have left—
Left with the heavy eyelids of the sun,
As a silver hand, turns the lights off
in the sky, thus,
the scarlet night begins…!
# 1474 Written 09-21-06 under the sun in the Plaza de Arms, Huancayo, Peru.
Versión en español
El Sol de Huancayo
(Setiembre en La Plaza de Armas)
Cada día el sol caliente se filtra
Sobre el horizonte—de la
Plaza de Armas de Huancayo.
Bajo el arco de la puerta de la catedral—
Un anciano (estatua de piedra) sostiene el mundo
en sus manos (mientras que el sol cae sobre él).
Ambos el bien y el mal se han marchado—
Se han marchado con los párpados pesados del sol,
Mientras una mano de plata, apaga las luces
en el cielo, así,
¡la noche escarlata comienza …!
# 1474 Escrito 21-Septiembre-06 bajo el sol en la Plaza de Armas, Huancayo, Perú.
Virgin of the Mercedes
The city was full of sounds
And great bands from the parade.
And the many feet that marched (soldiers and all)
Trampled abreast, down the streets,
And I, I saw, within this sea of events
The bodies and souls of the Huancainos
(and their proud spirits).
And down through the streets they went
Brass shinning, white and green hats,
Till the sun was sharp in my face,
And pure and warm in its sweep;
And, from the dome of the cathedral
Of Huancayo, hundreds walked to and fro
Praying to Mary of Mercedes:
As the parade faded,
In the afternoon.
Reference is made to the Air Force Day Parade in the Plaza de Arms, in central Huancayo, also known as the day of Mary (or Virgin) of Mercedes.
Note: Dedicated to the Huancayo Armed Forces #1481 9-24-2006.
Sipan, king of the desert,
and its sea of sand—;
Lord of the valley,
behold the crimson sun,
above, shines down upon
By some new sorrow
in the wind’s tone
(expectant and alone),
I feel your pulse:
fresh from Your sea of sleep…,
from the Lambayeque Valley:
Your spirit weeps!...
Note: Sipan, King or Lord, of Northern Peru (around: Chiclayo), in the Sipan Valley, or—also known as Lambayeque, lived around 200 to 300 AD and ruled the valley for about 40-years. His tomb along with others were discovered in the late 80s; in 2006, I visited the site in March, it was most interesting, along with climbing the pyramids nearby. The spirits there are annoyed with the fact, that the tomb of the king, considered the richest archeological find of the 20th Century, has been dishonored (for all the original relics have been replaced with replicas (so they told me).
In Sipan, 13-individuals were excavated (1987), equal to the find in Egypt, of King Tut’s tomb. There are two pyramids in the compound area, and perhaps 15,000-individuals lived there. The region is perhaps 6500-Square Kilometers.
On February 25, 1987, the site of Sipan (and its tombs) was being extensively pillaged by grave-robbers, who had stripped pieces of gold from one tomb in particular. Local people had taken control of the monument, and in the grasp of a kind of gold-fever, were trying to break into other tombs in search of more precious metals.
This was the biggest archaeological find in Latin America in recent decades—.
The Lord of Sipan was a warrior priest (a Moche descendent) who died around 250 AD. In his tomb were found 1200 pieces of gold and precious stones;... (how much was robbed or taken, no one really knows)
A Four Part Poem for the Inauguration of the statue: Virgin Mary, of the City, Concepcion, Peru
Un Poema de cuatro Partes para la
Inauguración de la: Santísima Virgen de Inmaculada Concepción, Patrona de la Ciudad Concepción, Perú
“I’ll build Me a City!”
I’ll build me a city
Out of love and stone,
I’ll build me a city
That loves and cares…
I’ll build me a city
With a statue that bears
Its name, of the Holy Virgin
And to heaven above.
And when I am dead
The Holly Virgin will look
Down, from atop the hill,
She’ll say with her heart
And bow with her crown—
To the love and pride
The city has found…!
Dedicated to the city of Concepcion, Peru, and its Mayor Jesus Chipana Hurtado; #1488 9-29-2006
“¡Me Construiré una Ciudad!”
Me construiré una ciudad
De amor y piedra,
Me construiré una ciudad
Que ama y se preocupa…
Me construiré una ciudad
Con una estatua que lleva
El nombre, de la Santísima Virgen
Y el cielo arriba.
Y cuando esté muerto
Descansando en lo profundo—
La Santísima Virgen mirará abajo,
De encima de la colina,
Ella dirá con su corazón
Y se inclinará con su corona—
Al amor y al orgullo
¡Que la ciudad ha encontrado…!
Dedicado a la ciudad de Concepción, Perú, y a su Alcalde Dr. Jesús Chipana Hurtado; # 1488 29-Setiembre-2006.
Mary of Concepcion
“Follow me softly…
(I heard the voice say)
“To Stone Stand Hill
(where the hills and skies meet);
“He will find a path to you—
“From the edge of Heaven’s gates…!”
Note: #1486 9-29-2006; dedicated to Antonio Isla Cordova (Engineer of the construction project)
María de Concepción
(oí la voz decir)
Al cerro de Piedra Parada”
(donde los cerros y el cielo se encuentran);
“Él encontrará un camino hacia ti—
¡Desde el borde de las puertas del Cielo…!”
Nota: # 1486 29-Sep-06; dedicado a Antonio Isla Córdova (Ingeniero del proyecto de construcción)
The Irrecoverable Path
My eyes fill, with tears and I know not why.
On a fair hill, an irrecoverable place;
I roamed her once, on paths
I shall nevermore retrace?
There resides a Statue, not of time or space!...
Note: #1487 9-29-2006 dedicated to the young poet Vanneza Gamarra.
El Camino Irrecuperable
Mis ojos se llenan, con lágrimas y no sé por qué.
Sobre una colina bonita, un lugar irrecuperable;
Recorrí esta una vez, sobre caminos
¿Que nunca más volveré?
¡Allí reside una Imagen, no de tiempo ni espacio!...
Note: #1487 29-Sep-06 dedicado a la poetisa joven Vanneza Gamarra.
The Road to Piedra Parada
(The Road to Standing Stone Hill)
A road winds up a marron hill,
And glad I could travel it
And be one traveler—short I sat
And looked down one side, as far as I could
To where the city of Concepcion stood;
Then looked to the top, not quite as far,
And being perhaps the lesser view,
Because it was un-grassed and barren
Though—as for time, a statue she’d bear
How beautiful then, perhaps the same;
And both that morning they equally lay
In clouds of love and turquoise blue;
Oh, I kept the view for another day
Yet knowing how thoughts lead on thoughts
I qualm if I could capture her back.
Someplace, sometime, in ages thus:
I shall be telling this with a tear—
A road that winds up a marron hill
I once took, where now stands a statue
(of) the Holy Virgin Immaculate Concepcion
(where once it was just a barren hill).
Note: #1487 9-29-2006, dedicated to the Jesus Chipana Hurtado, Mayor of Concepcion.
Note: written at the request of the Mayor of Concepcion. The event is due to take place in the city in December 2006.
El Camino a Piedra Parada
Un camino serpentea hacia arriba en un colina marrón,
Y estoy contento que pude recorrerlo
Y ser un viajero—por un momento me senté
Y miré abajo por un lado, tan lejos como pude
A donde la ciudad de Concepción estaba;
Entonces miré hacia la cima, no exactamente muy lejos,
Y siendo quizás la menor vista,
Porque esta estaba sin césped y baldía
Aunque—con el tiempo, una estatua esta llevará
Tan hermosa entonces arriba, o quizás lo mismo abajo;
Y ambas esa mañana igualmente yacen
En nubes de amor y en turquesa azul;
Ah, guardé la vista para otro día
Aún sabiendo cómo los pensamientos conducen a otros
Dudo si pueda capturar esto de nuevo.
En algún sitio, algún día, en años así:
Diré esto con una lágrima—
Un camino que serpentea hacia arriba en una colina marrón,
Una vez lo tomé, donde ahora está una imagen
de la Santísima Virgen de Inmaculada Concepción
(donde una vez sólo era una colina baldía).
Nota: #1487 29-Sep-06, dedicado al Dr. Jesús Chipana Hurtado, Alcalde de Concepción.
Nota: escrito a petición del Alcalde de Concepción. El acontecimiento se llevará a cabo en la ciudad en diciembre del 2006.
Morning Ghosts of Ugarte House
With ghostly chills of dead heroes
This morning, they fill
The growing silence of my heart;
Ghosts of a famous age—
All around the Ugarte House
And Iglesia (church).
The sun shines with such crimson light
Upon the city,
Where a decayed war (long ago)
Took lives—cold and evil,
A haunting future perhaps
For the pale and lost children.
Now, the shapes swallowed by the living
As in an empty goblet—their
Souls slain, are sighing…
Bleeding: along the platform
By the church;
On the stairways,
By the doors (in Ugarte House);
Due to the ominous battles
Of the Pacific war.
Note: #1489 9-29-2006: as in all wars, scares are left behind, not only by the living but the beyond, the thus comes long suffering. Some of the dead are still unsettled I would guess. Call them ghosts, or shapes or shadows—but whatever we call them, we must give them respect, for they once lived, now they are silently grieving, and in time, God willing, they will come to grips with their issues. Wounds healed, but often leave scares. (Dedicated to the Mayor of Concepcion, Jesus Chipana Hurtado). dlsiluk
A Brief look at the Wanka Warrior of the Mantaro Valley:
The Chavin culture is the oldest of the great Peruvian civilizations; it flourished between 1800 and 300 BC, approximately two millennia before the Inca Empire. The jaguar being a symbol to the culture; the Inca was perhaps the most cleaver and imperialistic of all the cultures that appeared in Peru, but the Wankas from Huancayo were perhaps the toughest of all the warriors that emerged in Peru’s history: located at 3’260 m (of altitude) in the fertile valley of Rio Mantaro.
The city of Huancayo (in a conventional tone, of this present day) is most famous for its Sunday markets, and two-2 km from Huancayo there is what is called Torre-Torre, red-colored geological formations due to erosion. In a new park of the city, Wanka statues of stone evoke the culture of the old Huanca civilization.
The Wanka warrior lived between 800 to 1400 AD (Huanca: or Wanka) Waaka Michiq (or: Huanca Quechua: original). I have traveled all over the Mantaro Valley, and it is beyond description, its beauty, and spectacular views (vistas) from the top of nearby mountains. Theretofore, it was natural (as time progressed) for the Wanka to deal with their differences by talking, not always warring between themselves, which they did a lot of; thus, I repeat, what usually followed was the talking (since they were all neighbors anyhow): talking meaning: “Kawagley”, or singing, dancing, drumming, as they do today.
The Wanka had a love for the earth (Quechua language, the word pacha is used to describe earth)) or allpa, which means ground or land; and Urqu Pacha, refers to the world of the dead.))
The Wanka Continued
One must remember in the world of the Wanka, or in particular, the Andean world, nothing is finite. Life and death is like water, a necessity, and part of creation. Pachayachachi (to live on this earth, was a part of their philosophy), one must accept the normal process of life and death, lest he be haunted his whole life with bewilderment.
WAR: I do not know of any specific word for War, in Quechua, or in the Wanka dictionary: the word: awqatinkuy, meaning to fight, is pretty close. Or wañuchina kushunchu, which means to cause death. Taking this to a more personal level: the word “warrior” in, Yupiaq; thus, a warrior is called: a warrior’s name that is, is anguyagta.
The Warrior used: bows, arrows, harpoons, and spears, slingshots, kayaks, and lived in villages. They had a community house to talk things out; and they often fought among themselves, as I had said earlier. They also played games, games of skill, things like that. There was perhaps a period of time when the Wanka tried psychologically—as well as spiritually—in an approach dealing with ways to do away with wars amongst them selves. And again, I repeat, used dancing instead, as we see nowadays; thus, holding together the culture and language, its revitalization efforts, you could say.
Waging War: The focus of this story is not so much about how one wages war, or its ability to wage war, but rather on the ability to look at war, to reflect the individual and the peoples actions (there is always a conglomerate of some sort involved; and many sides to the pains that go along with war)—in this case, using tools as weapons to kill each other; and we will see that it is more than a battle cry heard across a river. As we see today in the Mantaro Valley of Peru, Harmony has replacement war.
It should be noted, the Wanka Warrior was a striking and impressive looking individual, with a fierce expression and glaring teeth when in battle.
The Wanka Today: The Wanka today are much like any other group of people in many ways, they have their problems such as: alcoholism, domestic violence and suicides at the community level and self-governance and educational rights—they seek, at the institutional, and political levels. There is no word for alcoholism in Quechua, no word for suicide, thus, it had to be invented for the 20th and 21st century (we can call it: hatun wasi or yatray wasi ((the learning house)).
On top of St. Christopher Mountain, otherwise known as Catalina Wanka Mountain, resides an old ruins, Unishcoto, it is perhaps 15,000-feet above sea level, or higher. The old ruins have 19-stalls, or storage rooms. The exact location would be, in the Mantaro Valley of Peru, beyond the Andes; tucked away, and above the town-let, called San Jeranimo. The Mantaro Rio is nearby, and should one want to climb the mountain, it takes two to four hours (plus), depending on ones physical condition. But the vista from the top is overwhelming; you not only see the town-let, but the whole valley and its mountains.
The storage-bins were used for storing potatoes and other vegetables. And you can see the remains of the geographical, and their cultivation’s process used a thousand years ago—here and there—as you trek the mountain. The valley was once dotted with small ruins but farming has destroyed most of them, along with the rains, and so forth and on; but Unishcoto remains, and that is a treasure to behold.
Ancient Wanka Ceramic
Hawks over the Valley
(An Introduction to the Wanka Warrior)
All men who live by war, present
A kind of hawk-like appearance
(as well as, a steadfast stance).
His, whose body showed strength
Combinded with endurance
Smooth shaven, features being more of
The sun, than of nature—the wanka warrior.
His dark eyes were cold;
Under his feet, the land moaned.
He was once told, “In the ranks of the
Wanka Warrior, there is always a place,”
(For a Saber-warrior like he).
“Yes!” the Wanka Warrior said
With a soft voice, “...but what do you mean?”
“You cried out in the stress of the fight
(Battle)—you smote your enemy,” said
the chieften, adding, “you’re quick
To anger (there was an instant of
“Very well,” said the vetern warrior,
“I seek an enemy!”
“Whom?” inquired the Chieften.
“The Dog of the Valley!”
“You know, this man is a mighty general?”
“It matters as little as if he were a
brick maker,”said the Wanka Warrior.
(It would be another year before the Wanka Warrior would take the road home from his last great battle, The Road to Unishcoto.)
[1 thru 4]
I was born in the Mantaro Valley
I came from an old Wanka stock—
Race whose characteristics
Were inclined towards violence—war
We battled against one another…!
In the mountain country—I lived
A valley surround it, it is where I spent
My boyhood, a physical contest it was!
It was all one breath of life to me…;
A restless life, thus, I became a warrior.
One must understand the risks,
The uncertainties as a warrior;
You must be utterly fearless, wild,
Primitive, and so I became, I was:
All of this, aloof, strange, and more!
As a warrior, I could expect nothing,
Only fury from my aching muscles:
Grasp, raw skinned knuckles, aching;
Staring down my victims, doom:
My murderous blade sharp at its point.
I learned death in a thousand forms
And due to this, I was partly dead.
In my life, at this time, I can but reply:
Continual violent action: imposes!...
Oversimplified, and now I die…!
I was captured once and left to die
My wife (but not then))I shall not name))
Fumbled vainly at my feet: I had been
Physically tortured, she held me upright
She cried, and prayed and cried…!
Worthless, yet she had pity for me
And now she waited vainly, hoping…
Wringing her hands, knowing I was well
No more a shield, thus, I was free to:
Fight again; whoever saw such a woman [?]
You will say perhaps: …it is impossible
For a man like me, to fall in love—
She was indeed a blinding flame,
A deafening sound in my chest—
A sound I could never put to rest.
For a long time I was senseless, dead,
In my healing, longing in my sleep to love
Never really hoping to find it, yet:
Once found, she disrupted my life…
Yet, somehow, we became one.
I always thought I’d return to her
My little yellow flower of the mountain
“I shall return,” I decreed…! Freed
The vanquished bloodstains kill…
They do not play favors for anyone.
My mind as I came to her—
Her features sparkled and floated,
Around my eyes I can visualize
It is now, all a transcendent vision
Yet strangely familiar as I walk…
As in any war, he found his eyes upon the dead, his eyes trying to close (these were the dead that laid now behind him, bleakly and quietly: he tried and tried to wipe out their memory, the battle, yet he remembered all the shapes…)!
Stiffly in their cast mode, bold and cold, immortal faces, shrinking, he got away from them…!
He called it hopeless surrender; he would have to learn how to be un-cold, for the world could not afford a warrior with true affection (sorrowful it would be in battle)) but he was coming home)).
In his journey back, he lost all account of time, dead feet walking, un-hurrying, he clinched his hands, a snarl on his face: one way or another, he was coming home to his wife.
Their faces—teeth showing, face bleached white, incapable of further movement, he made no sound, his breath hissed, as he recollected; wordless, he sank into a silence of profanity, yet he kept wailing, walking, talking.
(Parts one thru five)
The Great Wanka Battle
By the Teeth of the Moon
Four-thousand warriors battled this night
Two-thousand Wanka warriors would die
Along the Mantaro Rio, in the Valley
And they had equal weapons and all
And many of the warriors were hidden
On both sides of the Rio were Wankas
I and the Wankainos (the ancient ones)
Kept up our incessant fires, and spirits
But with scant avail, for we all knew
Slowly the enemy, the foe crept closer...
Closer and closer they crept for accuracy
To the edge of the Rio–spying they came
Hid in the ditches along the Rio, and trees
Held their positions, waiting, just waiting:
In short order—, hoping to wipe us out.
Suffering terrible, in the cold winds
It would have been madness to swim
Across the Rio at night, but we did
Suffering terrible from the cold winds
Slowly we crept closer to them…!
Thus, we crossed the Rio at night with
Only the teeth of the moon for light,
Arching down, now on the ground
Blue blades by our sides—determined
Bizarre figures, spears at our thighs.
Battle along the Rio
I heard a voice vaguely familiar:
“I slashed off his head—it rolled
Grinning down the hill to the mud—“;
Once on land we rushed the camp
In-between fires, dogs and cats…
Panting, blood stained, fierce faces
Led only–by the teeth of the moon—
Flamed eyes, fumbling in our haste,
“Back!” I heard someone say—
Instantly my ears heard a distant roar!
The shooting of porras snarled by—
Fire arrows, singe my hair,
I was the last Wanka warrior to die:
In this chaotic war; blindly we fought
Some bodies smoking—burnt crisp…
I saw the remnants of my comrades
There was no escape; none! None at all.
We walked into a devouring path –
I and I alone, escaped to the Rio…
By the teeth, the teeth of the moon!
I raced through the water of blackness—
I suspect, I was confused, mumbling:
The erratic moon, bobbing above me
Then I reached my side of the Rio—
There was the spy in the hollow log…!
In the Midst of Battle
In the midst of the Wanka battle
Massed thick with Wanka bodies
We were all fighting like demons
The battle was a gasping deadlock
They could not thrust us back…
We slashed, heaped high their bodies
Then when we were exhausted, they
Came in full force—hand to hand
Men stumbling among the dead—
Flesh and blood, and thunderous roars!...
Wanka warriors—we were everyplace
Everyone madden to a frenzy (hidden)
They—our enemy Wanka brothers,
They were hidden in trees, logs, ditches
Desperate melee, we gave way!..
The battle streamed out, throughout
The camp, and down to the Rio,
Trampling feet, shouts—with blue steel
Hand to hand, came the vengeance:
All foes in the same valley and Rio...!
Death (in the Midst of Agony)
On we died like locust, so thick in battle
So broad we could not spread our arms,
And once we tried, wide, broken wings
(With broken arms and knees, we fought)
Consequently, being repaid—we died in agony.
Red, red blood was the repayment—
I could not pity them, or they us…:
We were all dazed by the battle sight
Some cowering in terror, and me, me—
I was in the painful midst of Agony!...
Hacking and slashing—warriors!
I avoided chance blows—somehow;
I slashed and gashed, a path to the Rio
I swam swiftly through the currents
My bronze limbs against the water-walls;
Now across the Rio, glaring in on me—
I found a path, where the wind blew…
The dome of the moon –shattered
In the semi-darkness: my bronze limbs
Crushed, with pain and the rain…!
I heard in the distance, Wanka iron hands,
Pounding lungs, their feet in triumph—
They said, “We conquered the fools,” yet
They, like us, are from the Valley—
And some day they will be conquered too.
Of this past cataclysmic frenzy
That took place a day ago—
The death of howling humans,
Brought me memory crushing walls
A ghastly roaring through it all…!
You think before a battle, and during:
Your body can blast through it all;
How many fell that day, I do not know
But I was the only one to escape—
Over the river, over the river’s flow.
What I expected to find or gain in war
Is different than what I found—
Like blind and brainless monsters
We fought—a blinding white flame
Enveloped in a frantic oblivion.
You my say, perhaps it was all in vain,
My only reply is that I was part of it;
Senseless as it is, was, and will be—:
Again, afterwards, one becomes vested
In delirium, paralyzed with it…!
After the Battle
(Parts six and seven)
By Lantern of the Moon
As I walked towards my home—,
Trees loomed out of the darkness
Thinning branches—with a hushed
Vague sky—a dog barking ahead:
Guided only by the lantern of the moon.
I struggled now up the side of the sierra
The old creek bottom, behind me now
My mind in a fine obliviousness—
At last I saw, from far away…
A shadow standing in the darkness…!
I felt a sad, gloomy, faintly chill
My wounds—my whole body dying
Dying among the living sierra trees
The dog heard me, barked again,
His shadow trying to listen, to listen!!
Her voice, humming, ebbing my way
My path—like a falling echo…
Motionless, like a broken branch
The dog barked again, nearer…:
My wife stared off into the darkness.
I died, and went into a silence
I died, and the silence rippled
It was neither night—nor day
I wanted to follow the path
You know the one to my house!
But I was dead—among the trees
The house seemed to loom before me
(a different dimension perhaps);
Then I found myself beside her—
I whispered her name—stirringly!
Her lips were cold, or were they mine?
She tasted fatality, doom—didn’t know
Her head bowed between her breasts;
I was now above her: she was so brave.
(And I died, and she went to bed.)
And I thought then, about the times
She and I, held each other—
And we would lay in the meadows,
And quietly in the darkness—she’d
Make me warm, and she was soft.
(But this doom, I could not escape.)
(Last Kill))or Battle of the Jackal))
“I remember now—the dog as we called him,
Stood there in my mist, as I came upon him:
My eyes ablaze in fight with an old hate;
He’s all Jackal I thought: in the mist of battle.
The leader—the Jackal, slow as an ox, came
Towards me—I gathered my feet, below, I
Leaped, I struck, I sheared through his neck
Cords: blood flowed from him, like the Rio.
It was my last kill. I jumped over fires, swift
—I wasted no time, seized him by the knees,
Cast him over my head—how dead is dead, I
Thought; next, I jumped back up, onto my feet:
Then bending low, like a sweeping condor, I,
I howled like the enemy, like a pack of hounds,
As the fires dwindled down. Now the blood of
The foe was on my blade, but I was alive—That is,
For the moment: like the wind that follows me.”
Spring and Decay
There were no intimate things in her room, empty—the entire room still—a chill of desolation, spring had come, with a bright blue sky, she saw flowers lying on the ground, as if forgotten…
—she walked further into the wooded area, there—withered and dead laid her husband. Crumbled in his fingers, flowers, she touched his hand, they had left a stain, and he smelled: reeked with decay—!
Soberly and a little sorrowful, in the chill of the morning air, she paused, fretfully, brooding, alarmed, her fear and bewilderment had come true: trying to remember what little they had done together.
The gist of it was plain enough, she had never understood him or war, but she did today, it meant—detachment. It all implied—one must put it behind them, to stay alive, to survive, yet shocked and curious—she didn’t appreciate it.
She asked herself— “What are the words to this?” there was nothing to do [perform, carry out] save, hope for a new husband, yet that brought back distaste, and dread; she had to trust to a stranger (she put this aside for the time being).
—Part Nine (conclusion) Interlude
The Ghost of Weeping
(Grieving) She stood sluggishly by her fireplace, her hands cold to the bones—she stood before it, then turned towards the window, there she could see the drooping trees, her heart leaped a little “You fool,” she said; his shadowy shape came leaping unto the open sill of the window—, “You idiot,” she said; the shadow seemed to stare at her, with a wild repose.
Her wet face, lighted up “Don’t,” she cried, and then she tasted her own tears—she clung to the window, the shadow showed saber intensity “Have I gone crazy?” she asked herself.
She had been hoping he would have come home, I mean, come home for good, she had waited—so she said aloud, ”… longer than a thousand fires—“ and perhaps had she not found his body, she would have waited longer. “No,” she answered, “wishful thinking!” That is what it was. “What?” she said; a voice said, “…you’ll find someone soon…” she stared quietly (it was as if the voice was annoyed).
Her chin now in her palms, looking into the fire, “You don’t want to!” She said “Surely for what it’s got to be.” She added, “Whatever you think, it is because it is what you want to believe.”
She picked up a cup, drank its contents sat back, her face rosy in the firelight. She closed the window, “People smell bad because of the things they do;” she said, “living corruption, flags the flesh, all soiled.” She felt clean to the bone—then the fire went out.
She murmured “He gave half of himself to me, and the other half, perhaps the better half, he swapped for war—that part, I could never find, until now.
Behind the stone oven—she sat
One bronze woman, half-grieving
Her face shinning with heat
And rolling dark eyes; by her
Feet one dog and four puppies,
Scratching and bumping—
As they ate—their meal…
Fire reflected: flashes of teeth;
Curiosity had vanished—.
Outside her stone window
In the sky no stars showed;
The earth was a deflated swell;
The sky was sagging its dark shape;
The trees beyond, like chilled ghosts;
And the moon shown a cold
Corpse-like light, thus, a gray
Chill seeped through and upon the stones.
Trickling like water all around her,
Halting at her breasts, her unimpeded
Bones: her breath, flesh was without
Sensation. “How long must I grieve?”
She pleaded in her gray like silence.
Then the gray above her head
Began to dissolve.
The House on Unishcoto
Weep for the one so strong to die
Whom war has taken at last!
Mourn for his wife that sings no more
And the ruins on Unishcoto.
This was he who had a flaming heart
And heroic breath,
Whose weapons are laid, and hung
In the House of Unishcoto.
It was he who grew mighty in war,
But her war was otherwise:
Thus, weep for one so strong in war
Whose war is now, of the night!
#1451 9-7-2006: note, Unishcoto is a ruin on top of one of the mountains in the Mantaro Valley of Peru.
#1450 “The Road to Unishcoto”, 9-6-2006 (First parts written the first and last week of August; and the last parts written the first week of September, 2006)) drawings also drawn during the same period
A Commentary on Poetry by: Dennis L. Siluk
The Poet’s Shoes
—To understand some poetry, or poets, one must have experienced what the poet has—identical experiences; or you must be shaped like the poet—, the exceptions are from the old school of poetry—one shoe fits all (thus, understanding the theme, plot and insight of poetry becomes much easier); from the contemporary scene, you must have the same shoe size of the poet to understand where the poet is leading you, and in poetry the poet should have a destination for the reader—lest he doesn’t care (and he should).
—The poet survives perhaps because he or she is oblivious (or not connected so much) to the world, and all its compulsions (suicide is often on the other side of this coin, if not drugs and alcohol).
—Poetry has accomplished something if it causes one to mull over it…; stretching this a little further, there is (it seems) coming a day (not so far off in the future), when poets will not even need to know a thing about literature (most don’t today); yet poetry is (or should be) considered the highest form of literature.
—Most poets write about love and death—which perhaps are the two main ingredients (or themes) to poetry; some write on social issues, which make for bad poetry; but it is “Beauty” that shines above everything, and that is often, too often over looked in place of self-interest, or a combination of negative delirious confusing thoughts put into writing by a poet under the influence of some kind of chemical. One can get a high off the beauty that surrounds them.
Last words: we as poets should not forget, we influence people, young people in particular, and owe an obligation to (if not duty to), set a good example by the way we live and write.
Written in the Plaza de Armas, Huancayo, Peru, 10:00 AM, Wednesday, 9-19-2006
Note: Read by Eduardo Cardenas Jr. on the Radio Universitaria (UNCP-Universidad Nacional del Centro del Peru) Huancayo, Peru; also Publisher in the “Primicia”, issue dated 1 October, 2006
Versión en español
Un Comentario sobre Poesía por: Dennis L. Siluk
Los Zapatos del Poeta
( Hoy en día:)
—Para entender algo de poesía, o a los poetas, hay que haber experimentado lo que el poeta ha pasado—experiencias idénticas; o haber sido formado como poeta—, las excepciones son de la vieja escuela de poesía—de que un zapato encaja a todos (así, entendiendo el tema, el argumento y la perspicacia de poesía se hace mucho más fácil). En la escena contemporánea, debes tener el mismo número de zapato del poeta para entender dónde el poeta te conduce, y en la poesía el poeta debería tener una destinación para el lector—a no ser que él no se preocupe (pero él debería).
—El poeta sobrevive quizás porque él o ella están inconscientes (o no están unidos tanto) al mundo, y a todas sus compulsiones (el suicidio está a menudo al otro lado de esta moneda, o las droga y el alcohol).
—La poesía ha logrado algo si ésta causa que uno reflexione sobre ésta…; exagerando esto un poco diría que, habrá (parece) un día que vendrá (no muy lejos en el futuro), cuando los poetas no tendrán que conocer algo sobre literatura (la mayoría no lo sabe hoy); aunque la poesía es (o debería ser) considerada la forma más alta de literatura.
—La mayoría de los poetas escriben sobre amor y muerte—que quizás son los dos ingredientes (o temas) principales en la poesía; algunos escriben sobre cuestiones sociales, lo que hace que la poesía no sea buena; pero es "La Belleza" la que brilla sobre todo, y a menudo, o muchas veces, es ignorada a cambio de intereses propios, o por una combinación de pensamientos negativos delirantes confusos puestos en la escritura por un poeta bajo la influencia de una especie de sustancia química. Uno puede inspirarse en la belleza que a uno lo rodea.
Palabras Finales: nosotros como poetas no deberíamos olvidar, que nosotros influenciamos en la gente, en los jóvenes en particular, y tenemos una obligación con ellos (o un deber con ellos), demos un buen ejemplo por la forma en que vivimos y escribimos.
Escrito en Plaza de Armas de Huancayo, Perú, a las 10:00 AM, miércoles, 20-septiembre-2006.
Nota: Leído por Eduardo Cárdenas en Radio Universitaria (UNCP-Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú) Huancayo, Perú.
A Commentary on Poetry by: Dennis L. Siluk
Substance of the Poem
Some folks have said—substance in the poem does not matter—? I question that (even though, seldom do we know poets who know the reason for their poetry. Often when they reread their own poetry, they have forgotten what reason he might have originally had (had he any at all)), no substance for recollections.
—Curious speculation tells me, a poem has to have substance to survive…!
—Perhaps there is too much fumbling around by too many poets—using modern verse (for an excuse) to escape a theme or insight for a poem.
—In writing a poem, like anything in life, one must have a plan, destination (where do you want to take your reader?).
—A poem perhaps is the secret life of the poet; his black twin, his detached self—this is too often the case. Thus, the poet and poem become more of a riddle of despair than a work of art. You either sink or rise with the poet and his poem. That is, sink into dark perversion, or rise into a beautiful fire of emotion.
—Healthy poetry is almost unseen, and becoming unnatural nowadays, but it will uplift you, make you re-read it, and the best critic in reading poetry is the reader—and the best evaluator is the poet.
Versión en español
Un Comentario sobre Poesía por: Dennis L. Siluk
Sustancia del Poema
Algunas personas han dicho—que la sustancia en el poema no importa— ¿? Yo discuto esto (aun cuando, raras veces conocemos a poetas que saben la razón de su poesía. A menudo cuando ellos releen su propia poesía, han olvidado que razón pudieron tener al principio (si es que tuvieron alguna en absoluto)), ningún fundamento para recuerdos.
— ¡La especulación curiosa me dice que, un poema tiene que tener sustancia para sobrevivir…!
— Quizás hay mucha hurga alrededor por muchos poetas—usando verso moderno (como una excusa) para escapar de un tema o conocimiento de un poema.
— Al escribir un poema, como todo en la vida, uno tiene que tener un plan, una destinación (¿a dónde quieres llevar a tu lector?).
— Un poema quizás es la vida secreta del poeta; su gemelo negro, su yo separado—esto es muy a menudo el caso. Así, el poeta y el poema se vuelven más un enigma de desesperación que una obra de arte. Tú, te hundes o te elevas con el poeta y su poema. Es decir, te hundes en la perversión oscura, o te elevas en un fuego hermoso de emoción.
— Casi no se ve poesía sana hoy en día, y se hace un poco anormal, pero esta te elevará, hará que lo releas, y el mejor crítico en la lectura de poesía es el lector—y el mejor evaluador es el poeta.
Back Cover of book
—From the Periódico (9-18-2006): “Primicia”
“…Dennis Siluk, North American poet…fell in love with the Mantaro Valley (of Peru)… (so) he writes in his works…. The landscape, the customs of the city (of Huancayo), the food of the city (which all seems to come from an inspiration he draws out of the, and is captivate by, this region).
‘Huancayo is a modern city that keeps its traditions (alive) and its colorful fair (Sunday market))…I hope it does not change…’ (He says).”’
—(Editor: Mr. Nilo Calero Perez)
Mr. Siluk was awarded the title of Poet Laureaate of San Jeronimo, Peru (2005), and awarded the Cross of the City, in 2006. Also, Los Andes University acknowledged Dennis’ contribution to the culture of the Mantaro Valley. In addition, the Mayor of Concepcion has asked Dennis to write a poem for the Inauguration of the seventy-five foot statue of the Virgin Mary.
In 1982, Dennis’ 2nd book, was considered for a Pultzer Prize.
“The Road to Unishcoto,” is about a Wanka warrior (his last battle along the Rio Mantaro, near the city of San Jeronimo). Also there are poems on Huancayo, Sapallanga, and Concepcion, all Andean cities of the Mantaro Vallley. Here again we see the culture, beauty and customs of the region florish in Dennis’ poetry; along with two commentaries on poety.
Dennis Siluk (and wife Rosa) live in St. Paul, Minnesota; also in Lima, Peru; but have chosen Huancayo, and its beautiful Mantaro Valley to call their permanent residence. This is Dennis’ 35th book, his 11th in poetry, and his 5th on Peru.
Mr. Siluk is the winner of two columnist awards (in 2004 and 2005).