Quipu Chant

By coloured knots on strings,

we Keepers of the Knots

we remember

our Inca beginnings.

 

By the Quipu, our calendar.

By the Quipu, our ledger.

By the Quipu, our message-bearer.

 

By the counting threads

of the Quipu,

we Keepers of the Knots

we account for

the ears of corn

the heads of cattle

the gold of the sun

the silver of the moon

the roaming llama.

 

By the living threads

of the Quipu,

we Keepers of the Knots

we account for

the fallen in battle,

the numbers gone to Pachacamac

god of earth and time,

and the numbers still here

to breathe rain’s miracle.

 

By the talking threads

of the Quipu,

we Keepers of the Knots

we keep the past un-dead.

We who unravel

the Quipu’s secrets

as the hours unravel us.

We Keepers of the Knots.

Let it not be said

that we forgot.

Copyright: from Einstein The Girl Who Hated Maths (Hodder Children’s, 2002/2013), © John Agard 2002, used by permission of the author and publisher

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