These poems are taken from Hatshepsut, Speak to Me by Ruth Whitman [Wayne SU Press, Detroit: 1992]
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 Egypt,
you will be a ruler.
He took me with him on his royal barge
down the Nile to Memphis, to Sakkara,
to Giza, to see my kingdom.
He said to the farmers and nobles
crowding the water steps
This is my goddess daughter Hatshepsut
who will be crowned with the crown
of Upper and Lower Egypt
when she becomes a woman.
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 palace.
She woke at the fragrance of the god
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.
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,
while ba the bird
wing of my soul
will fly from my tomb
back to the sky
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 war.
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 southern city, the horizon of earth
stretching east to west
and the fecund river cleaving the land
south to north.
Sun and moon
sail from east to west
across the Nile,
from life to death
and back again.
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.