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 'All The Earth Is A Grave'

All the earth is a grave and nothing escapes it,

nothing is so perfect that it does not descend to its tomb.

Rivers, rivulets, fountains and waters flow,

but never return to their joyful beginnings;

anxiously they hasten on the vast realms of the rain god.

As they widen their banks, they also fashion the sad urn of their burial.


Filled are the bowels of the earth

with pestilential dust once flesh and bone,

once animate bodies of man who sat upon thrones,

decided cases, presided in council, commanded armies,

conquered provinces, possessed treasure, destroyed temples,

exulted in their pride, majesty, fortune, praise and power.

Vanished are these glories, just as the fearful smoke

vanishes that belches forth from the infernal fires of Popocatepetl.

Nothing recalls them but the written page.


Poem attributed to Nezahualcoyotl (meaning "Coyote in fast") April 28, 1402 – June 4, 1472.

He was a philosopher, poet and ruler (tlatoani) of the

city-state of Texcoco in pre-Columbian Mexico.