Acamapichtli and Dark Moon Night

entry picture

This poem is an original piece using established names.  The names of all characters are taken from the Aztec religion, and all of the characters act in sympathy with their attributed and established forms.  The exception is the titular actor: Acamapichtli.  While Acamapichtli was the first ruler of the Aztecs, in this poem, he is not the same person, but only carries the same name.


The picture of Huitzilopochtli was taken from the website Mexican Cultural Institue of Washington DC ( on Jan 20, 2017, and is located here:


Dark moon night
Came swiftly that year.
So quickly and quietly
We did not see it
Until it was upon us.
Like silent cat moves,
Preparing to pounce,
So was the night
Of dark moon.

That year, one child was
Stronger than the others.
He could run faster,
And jump higher,
And sleep longer
Than any other.
He was the sun child.
He could bring light
From any place on earth.

When the dark moon night
Came upon us,
We did not know
What we were to do.
Many looked to the
Great medicine doctor,
But he looked back
So puzzled, and confused.
Bright were his eyes,
And small his mouth.
He danced a dance
He did not know the steps of.
And so we knew
That he did not know.

Great fear comes
With dark moon night.
Many are afraid of
Dark sun days.
It is said: In ancient times,
There were days
Beyond numbering
With no sun or moon.

Now everyone looked to a man
Who did not know.
Nobody thought to call for
The child of the sun.
So he called for himself.
How brave and tall
He stood beneath
The dark moon sky.

He spoke, with a voice
That echoed throughout
The earth, strong words.
"I will go in search
Of the sleeping sun god,
Surely I can wake him."

Many wept with joy
To see the strength
Of their brave son.
The great medicine doctor
Began a dance that
He knew the steps of.
He sang and stirred the paint
That would protect the child
From the wrath of the sun.

All gathered together
In the east of the canyons
To pray for victory
Over Huitzilopochtli,
The god of the sun.
As an eagle flies boldly
From his nest, so flew
Our child, Acamapichtli.

Go quickly to the place
From whence all men
Have emerged.
Like a jaguar, leap
Across the land
To the place
Of our beginning.

How quickly he moved.
How silent his steps
As he sought our god.
Many hours he ran,
And was nourished
At the hand of Xochipilli.
Beneath the dark moon
He came to Colhuatepec.
Surrounded by mist,
The great fear was in him.

No other might have entered,
But all prayed for him.
With strength in his marrow
He walked into the beginning.

Many men were there
Who are yet to be born.
Many men who do not
Yet have souls.
As foxes, they questioned him,
Stopping him with words,
Barring him with their
Unborn bodies.
Begging to know what
The Earth life was like.

Huehueteotl also met him
In Colhuatepec.
"Why come you back
To the womb of all life?"

"My people live in
Dark moon night.
We will not survive.
There will be no place
For all the unborn."

"You can not change
Dark moon night.
Only one man has
Ever overcome it.
And it took him three days
Without water, or bread.
Without light or help
Of any kind.
Are you better than he?"

Acamapichtli stood tall.
With fear his heart burned.
With terror his eyes shone.
With worry his hands shook.
"I am not better than he,
But I am not weak."

"You are brave,
But you will not change
Dark moon night.
No mortal man can change
Dark moon night."

Our child, though dead
With the fear in his chest,
Did not leave Colhuatepec.
He began a dance.
The same dance the
Great medicine doctor
Did not know the steps of.
But Acamapichtli
Knew the steps.
They were his steps.
They were the steps
Of the one who had
Conquered Dark moon night
So many, many years ago.

With his steps, he cried
With mighty voice
To Xolotl, the dead god—
The god who wakes the dead.
He cried to Xolotl
To wake Huitzilopochtli,
The god of the sun.
The great god Xolotl
Heard the words
Of our child, and called
Huitzilopochtli from slumber.

Great were the thunderings in the sky as Huehueteotl
Spat upon the walls of Colhuatepec.
"How do you dare
To wake the slumbering?!"

Huitzilopochtli rose
From the cracking floor,
And stood between
Our child and our god.
"Your poison condemned me
So Colhuatepec
Would forever be yours.
You are not worthy
Of the gods power.
You govern only fire!
Our children will perish
Without the strength of
The bright day sun."

Acamapichtli, weary
From the dance that
No one every knew,
Fell to the ground.
And like a phoenix,
Xolotl called him
To rise with new strength.

With power like an eagle,
Acamapichtli stood tall
To bow to the god
Of the bright day sun.

"Child of the Earth,
Our deepest thanks to you.
Your name will be spoken
By all who remember
The place of Colhuatepec.
Your people will never again
See dark moon night."

Our people stood in joy
In the east of the village
To see the rising
Of the bright day sun.
With the sun in the sky
Came our child to us;
Our child who saved us
From dark moon night.


Aztec poetryDeathRebirthGodsManMessianic poetryMetaphor

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Hazel ettridge

Sat 21st Jan 2017 09:42

This would make a lovely illustrated book.

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