Hatshepsut Poetry : Speak to Me

Poetry
These poems are taken Hatshepsut, Speak to Me by Ruth Whitman [Wayne SU Press, Detroit: 1992]

Hatshepsut, seated, as female

HATSHEPSUT:

When I was six

my father Thutmose the First

lifted me up to sit beside him

on his throne of Amen.

He said, Flower of ,

you will be a ruler.

He took me with him on his royal barge

down the Nile to Memphis, to Sakkara,

to , to see my kingdom.

He said to the farmers and nobles

crowding the water steps

This is my daughter Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut, seated, as male

who will be crowned with the crown

of Upper and Lower Egypt

when she becomes a .

I knew that Amen-Re, Lord of Thebes,

King of Karnak, took my father’s form

and came down to my mother, Ahmose,

as she slept in the beauty of her .

She woke at the fragrance of the

and rejoiced at the sight of his beauty,

and he went into her and his love

came into her body. And my mother said

How wonderful to see you face to face,

your dew is in all my limbs.

And Amen, Lord of the Two Lands, said to her,

Khnumit-Amon-Hatshepsut is the name of the daughter

I have planted in your body. She shall be king

in this whole land. My soul is hers,

my crown is hers.

BIRTH

Khnum the Potter

father of fathers

mother of mothers

molded my body

out of clay

out of spirit he

made another me

my ka to stay

on earth when I die:

she’ll slip away,

unhindered, free,

while ba the bird

wing of my soul

will fly from my tomb

back to the sky

HATSHEPSUT:

Before my father came to the throne

there was chaos in our double kingdom-

from the Great Green Sea on the north

to the land of Nubia on our south.

Men without breasts love .

They measure their height

by the mountains of severed hands

piled up, cut from their enemies.

But I saw our land laid out in peace:

Thebes, the , the horizon of earth

stretching east to west

and the fecund river cleaving the land

south to north.

and moon

sail from east to west

across the Nile,

from life to death

and back again.

Symmetry. Order.

The Nile

floods, recedes, floods.

And over us stretches Nut,

the goddess who is the sky.

The sun travels by night

through her body,

the moon and stars by day.

Her toes touch the east,

her fingers reach to the west,

she arches over us,

rainbow mother of night and day.

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