Farirai’s original piece, Heaven and Earth, in her own English-language translation:
Heaven and earth are having a dialogue although they are different. Heaven admires earth because of her beauty. Earth replies complimenting heaven on how well adorned she is. They argue in the dialogue trying to brain tease each other. In the end, they ask each other a question which has no answer” who is older?” Their dialogue as follows:
I am heaven. I stay very far from you earth. We cannot shake each other’s hands in greeting. When I look at how beautiful you are, I drink water. When I look at the mountains, I marvel where they came from. Some are small; others are so high as if they would reach out to me. These high mountains sometimes I see them covered with mist and I marvel where it comes from. Some I see them with trees, flowers and fruit trees of different types and I do not even know their names. Hey, and they are so many. Ah- it is marvelous I tell you. I wonder when I see some mountains without any trees and then I say to myself,” so mountains do get bald as people hey?” Nevertheless, all this difference makes me admire you more time after time.
Do not make me laugh you Heaven. What about your beauty? Every time Iam looking at you. Every time my eyes are always looking at you and how you have been adorned. I wonder why you do not fall on me. What is holding you that are so strong that it does not break? What about your color, all the same from the east to the west. I see the sun rising up from you, and then it spends the whole day traveling like the son in-law of the road I wonder where it goes. Sometimes I am burnt from the sun that I have no hiding place. Then, there are times when I do not see the sun. Ah- I marvel at you Heaven!
You know what earth, am surprised at what you are saying. As for you who showed rivers and seas where to travel year after year without getting lost. What about the echoes of the sea, I hear them from up here. What about the things which live in water, how numerous they are! They keep you entertained as you watch. There is fish, trees, snakes, hippos, crocodiles and many other big fish, which I am afraid to look at. But they all live together in there. During winter, I see that in other places, the water turns into snow then I wonder how these animals survive. However, the whiteness of the snow is so admirable. How about in summer when the sun is hot, I see people going to the beach to swim and to relax. Things which happen on earth are wonderful.
At night I think that is when you heaven are most beautiful. I see you adorned with stars and the moon. They both shine on earth and give us light at night. I wonder, during the day where you put children of yours. What really makes them shine so brightly? There are times when I do not see the moon or it shows partially. Then you hear people saying, “The moon is dead or sitting” I wonder what does that mean? So your children they die and come back? Mine do not do that the one who has died is dead and we will not see them again. That is how different we are my friend.
Ah- our dialogue does not end my friend. However, I want to know just one thing before we separate. Who is older than the other is? The way I see it is that since I am up here in heaven Iam older than you. Do not answer me back we will start another story until the sun sets. However, as for you, just know that I am older than you.
Sky and Earth, Tamara’s interpretation of the piece:
Sky and Earth are on good terms now. Sky is called Heaven, its voice is a choir, and everything it says is praise for its maker. Earth and Heaven are mirrors. But it was not always so. Once there was an argument between Earth and Sky, a competition to answer the question, which is older?
first. It said it had lived far longer than Earth. In fact, it had contained
Earth. In Earth-Sky there were two great friends, Water and Time. These two
played together and created new things. They made wood, they made smoke. For fun, they made a cat – something which
hates water and ignores time.
But one day a child came along and told them they were different. Water, she said, belongs to Earth, with the things that can be seen and felt. Time belongs to Sky, with things that are mysteries and endless. You are different. You can’t keep playing together like this.
The friends were dismayed, but the little girl said that if they thought about it, they’d see it was true. And from that day the two friends went their separate ways. And so, said Sky, I did exist before Earth. Anyone can see this is true.
Then it was Earth’s turn to speak, and Earth said, You’re right. Sky is older than Earth. But without Earth there would be nothing to prove Sky’s existence. No colours, clouds or seasons. No sun or shade. No fish or snake, heat or cold. And no people – not even bossy little girls to tell us what is and isn’t so. Sky agreed. There was no need for one to win at the expense of the other. They decided to separate for the sake of the children, who seemed to find this arrangement easier, but they would remain good friends, the one always present and honoured in the other.