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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Competent But Unfitted

Read Inca’s hidden story through Cyril Dabydeen's poem


Inca’s hidden story

By Cyril Dabydeen



Meeting you eye to eye—

where nothing else matters, but 

the ocean in a dreamer’s maze 

and going beyond ruins. Now where 

else do I go? Who’s asking, not telling? 


Cowering...where the Andes mountains 

rise higher as time no longer 

matters in Peru or someplace 

else, as I keep asking: 

Who am I


Not where do you come from-- 

because of conquest of tribes

unknown. Being helmeted, 

Pizarro with silver and gold 

becomes more burdensome.


What he never wanted to acknowledge 

to himself, but what Atahualpa 

bore alone--so the story goes-- 

about the Emperor of Inca-land

I now think I really know.


A never-ending story of woe 

told in the Spanish court far

from where mountains rise up 

and clouds coming down-- 

to the centre of the earth


Ptolemy nor Copernicus had seen 

before when men rode by 

on horses before a naked Inca 

girl, so the signs foretold

from very long ago.

Cyril Dabydeen is a Guyana-born Canadian writer of Indian descent. He was appointed the official Poet Laureate of the City of Ottawa from 1984 to 1987. A finalist four times for Canada's Archibald Lampman Award for poetry, as well as for the Guyana Prize, Cyril Dabydeen eventually won the top Guyana Prize for Fiction in 2007 for his novel Drums of My Flesh, which was nominated for the prestigious International Dublin Literary Award and was a finalist for the Ottawa Book Award. His writing has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize (US), the Journey Prize, and he has twice won the Okanagan Fiction Prize. He received the City of Ottawa's first award for Writing and Publishing, and achieved a Certificate of Merit, Government of Canada (1988), for his contribution to the arts. He has published almost 100 book reviews in outlets such as Books in Canada, Canadian Literature, The Dalhousie Review, The Ottawa Journal, The Chelsea Journal, and has been a regular book critic for World Literature Today(University of Oklahoma). He'd been invited to join the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in the mid-80's. He has received Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Department of Canadian Heritage, and City of Ottawa Arts awards over the years. He achieved a Word Masala Award (Skylark Publications, UK), 2018, and the Canute A. Brodhurst Fiction Prize ('The Caribbean Writer/UofVirginIslands), 2020.

Submitted: May 31, 2020

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