Hymn To The River

From Nafereti-Iti: Book 3, currently in progress
(Book 1 available here; Book 2 coming soon!)

A reed;
bread above a mouth;
a bird facing left by water.



Essence Of
The Estate Of
The Ka Of Ptah;
Pulse Of
The Domin’yun Of
His Spirit!

The Lotus ‘n the Crocodile…
The Frog ‘n the Papyrus…

You bring to us ‘n bless us with
the Arrival Of Hapi,
Lord Of The Life Within The Marshland –
his breasts bear black soil
to the desert, nourishing harvest!
He waters the fields of Ra’s beloved land!
Friend to the God Of Earth; Of Grain –
his blue-green skin stretches
where his belly bulges,
pregnant with the land’s renewal!

Milk dripping
from the breasts of the moth’ring man –
husband to many.
False beard;
the pow’r to destroy.

From beyond the Island Of The Elephant –
realm of Khnum, Satet, Anqet –
you flow from your
secret cavern-source
to those bouldered, bord’ring shores!
As the Potter ‘n the Pourer ‘n the Clasper
guard you,
giving you the silt you need,
the Opener Of The Ways looks on,
watching o’er your rushing height!
The Priests Of Hapi mark this
by the steps down to your side,
watching where the stone-carved marks
receive the extent of your lapping c’ress!

The Rulers Of Foreign Lands?
Jealous of your bounty!
While we, with shaduf scooping
from the stores of our canals
that crisscross in their network-grid
to saturate the land,
can say that we
marry our mortal greatness
to immortal-yours
to shape the honour of your gift
into this, our treasured home!

Lower-Egyptward you carry,
gleaming green ‘n blue!
Shed-Ayet –
to Sobek home –
bows from the waist to you,
off’ring its oasid-sea;
its goldleaf-lapis lake!
The City Of The Crocodile,
so green of plumage,

Inundate us
with your ankhs out-passed!
Your Window Of Appearances
is ev’ry silt-rich, sodden bank;
is ev’ry water-buried field;
is ev’ry floodplain-floating-harbour-home
to Death’s creations!
Destruct; recur; reincarnate –
your panarchy re-cycles,
circuhling along (a-lone [a-last]);
a riverrunning life…

As your delta death-throes
drench the northern reaches
of this Mansion-House
Of Millions Of Years
Of Prosperous Life In Health
you spill to primordial depths!
Visions of the Ben-Ben Stone;
the Mound Of Creation:
   A reed;
           bread above a mouth;
                    a bid facing left by water…

Image creditMalte Madsen

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