The Creation of the Earth

by Pima (Anonymous)

English version by Frank Russell

Earth Magician shapes the world.
     Behold what he can do!
Round and smooth he molds it.
     Behold what he can do!
Earth Magician makes the mountains.
     Heed what he has to say!
He it is that makes the mesas.
     Heed what he has to say.
Earth Magician shapes the world;
     Earth Magician makes its mountains;
Makes all larger, larger, larger.
     Into the earth the Magician glances,
Into its mountains he may see.

-- from The Sky Clears: Poetry of the American Indians, Edited by A. Grove Day

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Something about this shamanic chant is really striking to me.

Earth Magician shapes the world.
Behold what he can do!

"Earth Magician" sounds so tangible, like the name of a person. Yet this person is the shaper of the world, the maker of mountains and mesas. The formation of the world, it is an act of magic! It is an act of power and wonderment!

This song is really an invitation to truly see the majesty of creation, the vast natural world that is our home. Seeing the beauty and immensity of the earth, we can't help but be reminded of that which shaped it, the formless "magician" that gave form. The natural world is always saying to us -- Behold!

And my favorite lines --

Into the earth the Magician glances,
Into its mountains he may see.

Notice that this great Magician isn't looking at the creation; no, he is looking "into" it. He sees into the earth and into the mountains. For this Magician, the apparently tangible world is not a realm of solidity and impenetrable surfaces. That doesn't seem to be what interests him. His sight seems to flow effortlessly into the heart of things, and that seems to be the only reality that draws his glance.

Recommended Books: Pima (Anonymous)

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) The Sky Clears: Poetry of the American Indians Song of the Sky: Versions of Native American Song-Poems

The Creation of the