The glory that was Tenochtitlan

Tenochtitlan (rocky, prickly pear cactus place) was founded about 1300 AD and became capital of the Aztec empire. In 1519, its population was about 200,000. It shared the same island in Lake Texcoco with another city-state, Tlatelolco (north island). This is now central Mexico City.

Lake reincarnation

Lake Texcoco was the central and biggest of the lakes surrounding Tenochtitlan. After 1521 the Conquistadors drained much of it, though portions remain. Mexico is building the Lake Texcoco Ecological Park, which will restore much of the lake and will be a great tourist destination.  

Love eternal

Stand! Beat Your Drum!

Give your all! Be a friend! Now!

Your hearts will be adorned with many hues. Them!

Perhaps only ours to borrow,

our pipes, our blossoms. Oh me oh my!

Rise, my friend, joyful take your blooms to the drum,

your rancor takes wing! Beautify yourself with them,

the flowers stand tall, cocoa flowers of beaten gold,

Now! They fly into the wind. Oh me oh my!

Raise your voice in song, the turquoise quetzal, that male cock,

the macaw’s cry rules, every shaking rattle and beating drum replies.

Oh me oh my! I down cocoa, I am happy,

Now! My heart is pleased, my heart partakes of happiness.

Oh me oh my!

Not a literal translation, but my attempt to invoke the spirit of the original poetry: Nezahualcoyotl Fasting Coyote (1402-1472 ruler of Texcoco)

The 5 lakes surrounding Tenochtitlan (central Mexico City) are mostly gone, but Lake Xochimilco is the best preserved. Many of the Chinampas, floating gardens still exist. This is a prime tourist attraction I would love to visit.


About 1300 AD tribes of Nahuatl-speaking Mexica swept into the Mexico City area, possibly coming from the Mexico-USA border. They claimed to be from a mythical place called Aztlan and called themselves Azteca, forming a triple alliance of city states—Tenochtitlan (downtown Mexico City), Texcoco, Tlacopan. Their language, Nahuatl, has at least 2 million speakers so Aztecs are very much part of the present.

City of Lakes

Mexico City was built over 5 connected lakes, only parts of which survive. When the Conquistadors conquered Tenochtitlan in 1521, they drained most of the lakes. More about them in coming days.

Lake Xochimilco

Lake Texcoco

Lake Chalco

Lake Xaltocan

Lake Zumpango

Zanesville, Ohio melodrama: Martha Blocksom was engaged to a young minister, Henry Webster. Her wealthy family refused to allow her to marry him. She handed him a Dear-John letter. (Both subsequently married someone else and had long/ happy lives)

Heart-broken, Henry used some of the lines in the Dear-John letter to write the lyrics to “Lorena,” Joseph Webster composed the music. (He also composed Sweet By-and-By and Wildwood Flower) Published in 1857, the song became a hit in the North and the South and still shows up for Civil War movies and documentaries. [I don’t know for sure if both Websters are related]

Oh, the years creep slowly by, Lorena,
The snow is on the ground again…

… But there, up there, ’tis heart to heart.


Regard to dear Jennifer …

I know you are far away from me my dear lover.
You are fulfilling needed dreams in secret places where lover can find peace and safety.

I’m alright and I have accepted my destine ending.
I’m left with strong coffee, old poetry and dead memories.

I’m tire dear lover. Some of us cannot be saved.
We have accepted little and it is okay.

You reminded me I was worth something and
you reminded me I could wish and dream.
Sweet lover, you told me love was possible.
Left me with hope and a prayer.

Please sweet Jennifer.
Dance and sing in great and beautiful places.
My dead dreams mean little now.
When you have accepted dead-ends and roadblocks.

Freedom is under-rated. Best days in a life.
Open road and no time limits.
Old men learn life is fair and
we pay for every sin done.

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Poospatuck Reservation, Unkechaugi Band, Quiripi language. State Reservation, Mastic, Suffolk County NY—about 70 miles east of NYC, near south shore/mid Long Island. 700 population, 55 acres. Name means 2 rivers. I am proud of them. (close to Shinnecock Reservation)

Hare goddesses

Hares (and often rabbits) turn up often as goddesses, perhaps because of their fecundity and association with moon cycles.

Eostre/Ostara—English/Germanic fertility goddess—the Easter rabbit.

Wenet—Egyptian goddess known as rabbit though she was a snake goddess.

Diana-Andraste—associated with hares though a Welsh warrior goddess,

Artemis—Greek goddess of the hunt who forbade the hunting of hares.  

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