Buls, condors, turkeys Poem by gershon hepner
FIGHTS BETWEEN BULLS AND CONDORS AND TURKEYS
Fights between a bull and condor
as in the Andes in Coyllurqui,
are ones of which I am no fonder
than those now being fought in Turkey
against those wishing to be sec-
ular by those who think it’s heavenly
to act Islamically, and wreck
the aspirations of all people who
believe in being down-to-earth,
seeing the pro-heaven view
as worthy of merely of their mirth,
which since it cannot be expressed
by most in verse perhaps requires
a bull-v-condor-type contest
to extinguish lies and liars.
The truth to Islamists is murky,
but, fighting turkeys like a coward,
the secularists will be in Turkey
by bull-shit condors overpowered.
William Neuman (“Pitting Heaven and Earth in a Fierce Andean Rite, ” NYT,8/10/13) writes:
It is not easy to tie a wild condor with a seven-foot wingspan and a sharp beak to the back of an enraged 1,000-pound bull.
“The bull and the condor are not animals that have, let’s say, good relations, ” said Luis Bocangel, who helped oversee the temporary joining of the two species last week at the annual celebration of what is known here as Yawar Fiesta, or Blood Festival.
“The bull is terrified of the condor, ” said Mr. Bocangel, a brother of the town’s mayor. “The condor is trying to peck at the bull’s eyes.”
Once the two are lashed together, they are released into a bullring to do battle against each other and a group of bullfighters, while thousands of people watch. It is the high point of this uniquely Andean festival, held here each year on July 29, the day after Peru’s Independence Day, in this small town and a few others high in the mountains.
“The apu is the sacred bird of the Andes, ” said the mayor, Walter Bocangel, using a word that means god in Quechua, the indigenous language spoken here.
Many here in this remote, impoverished town on a steep hillside around 10,300 feet, where the bright sky seems especially close, believe that the condor, one of the world’s largest birds, has divine status.
“The juxtaposition of the condor and the bull represents the duality of the Andean world, between the celestial world and the earthly world, ” said Juan Ossio, a professor of anthropology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, in Lima.
Professor Ossio, a former culture minister, says the bullfight corresponds to an Andean vision of the duality of the world that dates to pre-Columbian times. Joining the two, the condor and the bull, heaven and earth, he says, is a ritual that recreates the wholeness of the community.
Popular wisdom has it that the festival dates from the colonial period and was created as a way for the local indigenous people to express their anger at the Spanish conquerors: by placing the Andean condor on top of the Spanish bull they could, at least symbolically, subvert their subjugation.
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