A Year of the Gods (Wep Ronpet Poem II)

P Sufenas Virius Lupus


She measured the rule of kings,
of the first and brightest pharaoh,
the king of the heavens, Amun-Re.

She measured his rule of a year,
three-hundred and sixty days,
a circle’s completion in round fulness.

At night she sang to me of the rule,
of its inadequacy, its lack of completion,
how the rule was broken and lawless

(for instruments of measurement,
though their calibration can be flawed,
have readings which speak for themselves).

I determined to do something,
to record a perfect calendar
and to vindicate my wife’s readings.

With words I tricked him,
misdirected his attention
as I stole a degree of the light

from the solar disk upon his head,
distracted him with games of gain
as I robbed him of one seventy-second.

I brought the one abundance–
the five degrees of sunlight–
and gave it to my wife.

She took them into herself, illuminated,
and gave birth under moonlight
to the calendar’s completion.

On the first day was born
Osiris, ever-living, twice slain,
the renewing light of the year.

On the second day was born
Horus, righteous warrior,
the undefeated champion.

On the third day was born
Set, the balancing darkness,
the tilting point of the year.

On the fourth day was born
Isis, star of the sea,
nurturing mother of the earth.

On the fifth day was born
Nephthys, shelter of nations,
devoted sister-wife of men.

From these five, many others
would come forth to birth
for the sustenance of nations.

From these five the means
to balance truth and victory
over chaos would be born.

The unknowable light of Amun-Re
would be reflected, refracted,
recognized, but not dimmed, in these.

And in five days of completion
the perfect solar round
would be the new measure of rule.

Seshat the measurer was the mother
while I, the writer and scribe,
Thoth, gave truth to these words.

Let none say that those who record
do not conceive or give birth
only to insubstantial ideas.

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