We lift our songs, our flowers,
these songs of the Only Spirit.
Then friends embrace,
the companions in each other’s arms.
So it has been said by Tochihuitzin,
so it has been said by Coyolchiuhqui:
We come here only to sleep,
we come here only to dream;
it is not true, it is not true
that we come to live on earth.
ANON. AZTEC, 16th century
(adapted by David Damrosch from the translation of John Bierhorst, Cantares
The honored men are singers. The man who has fought for his people gets no honor from that fact, but only from the attendant fact that he was able to “receive”–or compose, shall we say–a song. . . . What of a society where the misfit, wandering hopelessly misunderstood on the outskirts of life, is not the artist, but the unimaginative young businessman? This society not only exists but has existed for hundreds of years.
RUTH MURRAY UNDERHILL
Singing for Power: The Song Magic of the Papago Indians of Southern Arizona
All Piman songs, regardless of “way” or type, are formed in the same song language. We may draw the implication from this, that for Pimans “song language” is the lingua franca of the intelligent universe. This is a Piman manifestation of a theme common among North American Indians: In ancient times the animals and men talked the same language. Among Pimans they still do and that language is song. A further implication is that this lingua franca is now spoken in dreams, for that is how singers get their songs. Presumably the linguistic transcript of a dream, if such were possible, would be largely in song language.
DONALD BAHR et. al.
“Piman Songs on Hunting”