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 I loved these!

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Number of posts : 215
Age : 26
Location : I'll give you a cookie for guessing. Which means a lot of cookies.
Registration date : 2007-01-11

PostSubject: I loved these!   Mon Apr 02, 2007 4:26 pm

These poems aren't mine, but I found them in this book: Ancient Egyptian Literature by John Foster. Sadly, the original authors have been lost to history. But it blows my mind to think that these were all written so long ago and yet still seem so modern.
Enough babbling from me, here they are:

From the perspective of a girl in love:
“Love, how I’d love to slip down to the pond”
Love, how I’d love to slip down by the pond,
bathe with you close by on the bank.
Just for you I’d wear my new Memphis swimsuit,
made of sheer linen, fit for a queen—
Come see how it looks in the water!

Couldn’t I coax you to wade in with me?
Let the cool creep slowly around us?
Then I’d dive deep down
and come up for you dripping,
Let you fill your eyes
with the little red fish that I’d catch.

And I’d say, standing there tall in the shallows:
Look at my fish, love,
how it lies in my hand,
How my fingers caress it,
slip down its sides…

But then I’d say softer,
eyes bright with your seeing:
A gift, love. No words.
Come closer and
look, it’s all me.

(I didn't think they had swimsuits back then, but it seems like I learn something new every day.)

From the perspective of a lovesick boy:
“I think I’ll go home and lie very still”
I think I’ll go home and lie very still,
feigning terminal illness.
Then the neighbors will all troop over to stare,
my love, perhaps, among them.
How she’ll smile while the specialists
snarl in their teeth!—
she perfectly well knows what ails me.

(Well, it's not like he could email her or anything, lol. Everytime I read this, I laugh because there are still people who act that desperately in the name of love. Some things never change.)

From the perspective of a school boy on "break":
“Oh, I’m bound downstream on the Memphis Ferry”
Oh, I’m bound downstream on the Memphis Ferry,
like a runaway, snapping all ties,
With my bundle of old clothes on my shoulder.

I’m going down there where the living is,
going down there to that big city,
And there I’ll tell Ptah (Lord who loves justice):
“Give me a girl tonight!”

Look at the River! Eddying,
in love with the young vegetation.
Ptah himself is the life of those reedshoots,
Lady Sakhmeht of the lilies—
Yes, Our Lady of Dew dwells among lilypads—
and their son, Nefertem, sweet boy,
Blossoms newborn in the blue lotus,
Twilight is heavy with gods…

And the quiet joy of tomorrow,
dawn whitening over her loveliness:
O, Memphis, my city, beautiful forever!—
you are a bowl of love’s own berries,
Dish set for Ptah your god,
god of the handsome face.

(I liked line 5, I can just imagine the speaker saying that with a southern twang and it makes my laugh out loud. Especially since there's a Memphis in Tennessee.)

From The Maxims of Ptahotep
Do not be arrogant because of your knowledge;
approach the unlettered as well as the wise.
The summit of artistry cannot be reached,
nor does craftsmanship ever attain pure mastery.
More hidden than gems is chiseled expression,
yet it is found among slave girls grinding the grain.

(Do lines 3 & 4 sound familiar?)


May your ka live, and may you spend millions of years, you lover of Thebes, sitting with your face to the north wind, and your eyes beholding happiness.
--inscribed on the Wishing-Cup of Tutankhamun
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