10 Original and Translated Zapotec Poems

Simon Doyle
10 Original and Translated Zapotec Poems

The Zapotecs are an original people from the south of Mexico, specifically in what is now the southern states of Oaxaca, Puebla and Guerrero. This indigenous group dates from pre-Columbian times, at which time it was of great importance in the region, with a great cultural development in which its fully developed writing system can be highlighted..

Currently there are about 800,000 Zapotecs scattered in Mexico and the United States that have ensured to keep their culture and language fresh and intact and transmit it to new generations.

Zapotec glass

It is for this reason that today there are many Zapotec literary pieces, among which the poems stand out..

Popular Zapotec poems and their translation into Spanish

Here are some texts of Zapotec poems in their original language, and translated into Spanish.

1- Xtuí

Gula'qui 'xtuxhu

beeu guielúlu '

ne bichuugu 'xtuí nucachilú

ndaani 'xpidola yulu'.

Biina 'guiehuana' daabilú '

de ra guixiá dxaapahuiini 'nuu ndaani' guielulu '.


Put the edge

of the moon over your eyes

and cut the shame that hides

in your ground marble.

Cry buried mirrors

until the girl disappears.

2- Guielú dani guí

Ndaani 'ti le' yuze zuguaa

cagaañe guidxilayú ne dxita ñee:

head naa.

Naa ridide 'nisiaase' luguiá 'ti za guiba'

ne riuaabie 'ra nuume.

Volcano eye

In the ring a bull

scratch the world with its hooves:

wait for me.

I sleep on a cloud

and I throw myself.

3- Yoo lidxe '

Dxi guca 'nahuiini' guse 'ndaani' na 'jñaa biida'

sica beeu ndaani 'ladxi'do' guibá '.

Luuna 'stidu xiaa ni biree ndaani' xpichu 'yaga bioongo'.

Gudxite nia 'strompi'pi' bine 'laa za,

ne guie 'sti matamoro gúca behua xiñaa bitua'dxi riguíte nia' ca bizana '.

Sica rucuiidxicabe benda buaa lu gubidxa zacaca gusidu lu daa,

galaa íque lagadu rasi belecrú.

Cayaca gueta suquii, cadiee doo ria 'ne guixhe, cayaca guendaró,

cayaba nisaguie guidxilayú, rucha'huidu dxuladi,

ne ndaani 'ti xiga ndo'pa' ri de'du telayú.

First house

As a child I slept in my grandmother's arms

like the moon in the heart of the sky.

The bed: cotton that came out of the pochote fruit.

I made oil from trees, and I sold my friends

like red snapper the flamboyant flower.

How shrimp dry in the sun, that's how we stretched out on a mat.

Above our eyelids the cross of stars slept.

Comiscal tortillas, dyed yarns for hammocks,

the food was made with the happiness of the drizzle on the earth,

we beat the chocolate,

and in a huge gourd they served us at dawn.

4- Neither naca 'ne nor reedasilú naa

Ti mani 'nasisi napa xhiaa ne riguite.

Ti ngueengue rui 'diidxa' ne riabirí guidiladi,

naca 'ti badudxaapa' huiini 'biruche dxiña cana gutoo ne qui nindisa ni

ti dxita bere yaase 'riza guidilade' ne rucuaani naa.

Rucaa xiee ti yoo beñe zuba cue 'lidxe',

naca 'layú ne guirá lidxi.

Ti bandá 'gudindenecabe,

ti miati 'nalase' zuguaa chaahui'galaa gui'xhi 'ró.

Ti bacuxu 'sti nisa, sti yaga guie', cadi sti binni.

Naca 'tini bi'na' Xabizende.

Naca 'ti bereleele bitixhie'cabe diidxa' gulené.

What I am, what I remember

A freedom that frolics and has not become ugly.

The sensitivity of a talking parrot,

I'm the girl who drops her cocadas and doesn't pick them up,

a black chicken egg runs through me and wakes up.

I'm a nose that smells the adobe from the house across the street

a patio and all its houses.

A scolded photograph,

a thin line in the middle of the jungle.

A flower for water, for other flowers and not for people.

I am a resin that Saint Vincent cried.

I am a curlew that drowned its song in another language.

5- Given

Pa ñanda niniá 'luguiaa

xa badudxaapa 'huiini' nayati guielú,

niziee ': ti chalupa stibe,

you duubi 'nutiee sica ti pe'pe' yaase ',

suck neza guelaguidi ñapa ebiá naguchi ruzaani '

ne dxiña biadxi dondo ñó guenda stibe xa'na 'ti yaga bioongo'.

Nuzuguaa 'jmá guie' xtiá ne guie 'daana' ra lidxibe,

nga nga ñaca xpidaanibe

you guide ni ñuuya 'laabe

ñanaxhii gupa naxhi cayale gasi guidiladibe.


If I could go to the market

with the girl with the pale eyes,

would buy: a lottery game,

a feather the color of dark jicaco,

sandals with gold buckles

and for his nahual to eat under a ceiba tree,

the sour thicket of plums.

She would upholster her house with bunches of basil and cordon,

that would be his huipil

and everyone who looked at her

I would love her for the permanent dew on her body.

6- Mexa

Bisa'bi cabee naa '

cue 'ti bitoope dxa' birí naxhiñaa ndaani '

ra cáru 'gúcani dé ni bidié ne nisa roonde' xti 'gueta biade.

Lú mexa 'bizaacabe xhuga ne ti guiiba', gudaañecabe lú yaga

ni bisiganinecabe binni nayaase 'guidiladi ni rini' sucks neza diiidxa '.

Bixelecabe chiqué ne ni ti guidxi qui nuchiña laacabe.

Xa'na 'dani beedxe'

biyube 'ti guisu dxa' guiiba yaachi

ti núchibi dxiibi xtinne '

ne ti nisa candaabi 'bixhiá ndaani' bíga 'guielua'

guirá xixe guie 'huayuuya' lu sa 'guiidxi.


I was abandoned

next to a crab full of red ants

later they were powder to paint with the nopal slime.

From the table scratched with gouges: woodcut that furrowed the silence

on bilingual and brown skins.

There was distance back then

geography did not benefit the word.

Under the cerro del tigre

I searched for a treasure to tame my fear

and an igneous liquid erased from my left eye

all the flowers i've seen in may.

7- Lu ti nagana

Lu ti neza

suck na '


zuguaa '.

Tobi laughed

nadxii naa,

xtobi ca

nadxiee laa.




ladxiduá '.

Gubidxaguié ',

gubidxaguié ',

binduuba 'gu'xhu'

ndaani 'bizaluá'.


On a road

That forks,


I find myself.


Loves Me,

I love her.



Wash with great care

My soul.

Sun in bloom,

Sun in bloom,

Sweep the smoke

Of my eyes.

8- Biluxe


Ne ngasi nga laani.

Lu neza zadxaagalulu '

Ca ni bidxagalú cou '

Biá 'dxi

Gúcalu 'bandá' xtibe;

Ti bi'cu ', ti bihui,

You binni.

Gasti 'zadxaa

Ne laaca ca bigose

Guxhuuna 'íquelu'

Gusiquichi ique badunguiiu

Bichaabe lii.

Ne laaca decheyoo

Bizucánelu 'laabe

Gusicabe guendarusiaanda 'xtibe.

Gasti 'zadxaa.

Lii siou 'nga zusácalu'

Guidxilayú ma qui gapa

Xiñee guireexieque,

Ma qui gapa xiñee

quiidxi guendanabani.

Ne zoyaalu 'guendanabani xtilu',

Ladxide'lo zapapa

Bia 'qui guchendaxhiaasi layú,

Ne nalu 'ne ñeelu'

Zusiaandu 'laaca',

Qui zánnalu paraa zuhuaalu ',

Ne nisi lulu ', nisi nalu'

Zaniibihuati guide 'ne guete'.

It's over

It's over

and that's it.

On your steps you will find

the very things you found

during the days

that you were his shadow;

A dog, a pig,

a person.

Nothing will change

and the same carrots

that they got your head dirty

they will whiten the young man's

that took your place.

And behind the house

where they lay

she will settle her forgetfulness.

Nothing will change,

however you will suppose

that doesn't make sense anymore

the movement of the earth,

there are no more reasons

to cling to life.

And bite your manhood,

your heart will vibrate

with wings about to hit the ground,

and your arms and your legs

you will put them into oblivion,

lost in your place

you will see yourself moving foolishly

eyes and arms from north to south.

9- Guielú dani guí

Ndaani'ti le 'yuze zuguaa
cagaañe guidxilayú ne dxita ñee:
head naa.
Naa ridide 'nisiaase' luguiá 'ti za guiba'
ne riuaabie'ra nuume.

Volcano Eye

In the ring a bull
scratch the world with its hooves:
wait for me.
I sleep on a cloud
and I throw myself.

10- Bidóo Bizáa

Bixhóoze duu née rigóola
lii bizáa lúu guiráa níi:
cáa xhíixha zíizi née naróoba.
Gubíidxa née stúuxu quiráati,
béeu née cáahui quiráati,
béle guíi guibáa.
Bíinu cáa níisa doo née guíigu,
níisa layúu dáagu née níisa pii.
Cáa dáani née guide,
bidxíiña née bennda,
máani ripáapa née buupu,
bíi, dxíi, biáani,
bandáa, laadxi doo.
Binni laaze née béedxe guéenda,
léempa néexhe náa née guéeu níidi.
Bizáa lúu guennda nacháahui née guennda xhíihui,
ráa dxíiba lúu náa née ráa bidíiñe,
guennda nayéeche née guennda gúuti,
guennda nabáani née guennda nanaláadxi náaca xcuáa.
Jnáadxi duu lii Bidóo Záa:
naaca níiru cáa xníiru íiza.

Creator god

Master and lord
that you created it all:
the simple and great things.
The sun with its eternal rays,
the moon of infinite shadows,
the stars, the sky.
You made the seas and the rivers,
the lagoons and the puddles.
Mountains and flowers,
deer and fish,
the birds and the foam,
the wind, the day, the light,
the shadows, the soul.
The weak man and the clever tiger,
the cunning rabbit and the foolish coyote.
You created good and bad,
triumph and defeat,
joy and death,
life and hate together.
We love you, Zapotec God:
the first of the first ages.


  1. Zapotec People, Zapotec Culture and Zapotec Languages. Recovered from es.wikipedia.org
  2. David Gutierrez. Zapotec poetry, innovative language. Recovered from capitalmexico.com.mx
  3. María de los Ángeles Romero Frizzi (2003). Zapotec writing: 2,500 years of history. Conaculta. Mexico.
  4. Poem in Zapotec. Recovered from mexicanisimo.com.mx
  5. Love poems from the Zapotec language. Victor Terán. Recovered from zocalopoets.com
  6. Zapotec-Spanish bilingual poetry. Natalia Toledo. Recovered from lexia.com.ar
  7. Poem in the Zapotec language. Recovered from seriealfa.com.

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