For today’s poem, I’m making good my (long-overdue!) vow to Brett Buffalo (from early 2015!) for a poem which is related to Antinoan Egyptian subjects. Here goes…
Hymn to the Antinoöpolitan Sunrise
Sing, O Muses, for the shining city on the Nile’s fertile plain,
the reaches of the river in which Upper and Lower Egypt meet–
the Two Lands of Set’s offspring and Horus’ children
which mingle in the surrounds of Memphis and what flows both ways from it–
as Eos makes Her rose and golden way into the sky
and Her son, Memnon, cries out for her in the same way
that Her own flesh cried out for Tithonos, immortal but aged…
and may the fate of that shining city’s Hero not be as Tithonos’.
And sing as well for the city which is its neighbor across the Nile,
the great city of Twice-Great Thoth, whom the Greeks call Hermes Logios,
and His city Hermopolis Magna, where the great writings are made
and the Houses of Life store the words of the Gods in each Triad, Ogdoad, and Ennead;
it was by the words of Thoth that the Ba of the shining city’s Hero
took on the form of a God and rose from the Nile in triumph and glory,
and though words etched in stone proclaim Him the son of Re-Harakhte,
He is equally the son of Argus-slaying Hermes, and son of ibis-headed Thoth.
Sing, Terpsichore and Her sisters, for the dance which is done by Bes
when He swirls about above sleeping children in their beds,
His arms wielding every sort of weapon against the marauding of bad dreams,
and when it comes time to ask questions from the Gods, it is Bes again
Who dances a step of questioning and of conveying messages to and fro–
in that shining city, before its foundation stones were raised
and its beautiful streets and sturdy gates took shape from stone
Bes did His dances, and dance He shall continue in the Boy-God’s honor.
And sing again, She of the plectrum and the lyre, for beer-sated Hathor,
Whose dances put Muses and Graces and even Aphrodite and Apollon to reddening,
Who is the cow well able to contend with Dionysos’ wine-drenched bull,
the Two equal in revels and in raving under the spirit of strong drink–
and as the Muses sing and pour forth libations for the other Gods,
let another libation be poured for the God of the shining city
of marble columns and stately arches Who welcomes all into the dance,
the new child of Hathor, nymph-nurse like for thunder-born Dionysos.
The Muses have not yet sung their songs nor given their due to the great Emperor,
the Ruler of the Two Lands who unites the world regions under his feet–
Hadrian the Greekling of Rome, seed of Herakles in Hispania–
so let them sing their poems now, their lyrics of his great virtues and deeds,
their epics of his slaying of lions, bears, and boars,
and the histories of the wonders he saw in Egypt when he approached
Re-Harakhte and asked for his favor upon the newborn God,
the God of the shining city upon the fair Nile’s sunrise shores.
From the sleep of the God Osiris, just brother and husband to Isis great-of-Heka,
Who alone of the Gods is just enough to oversee the scales of Ma’at,
the new God arises from the dream of death by drowning–or is, indeed, this life
of toil and suffering upon the earth in the parched deserts in search of meaning
instead the sleep, the waking from which is death and the dawning of the sun
brought by the barque through the night-lands of the Amduat?
The new God in His peace, His justice, and His benevolence only smiles enigmatically
for He has come to know the secret of the ways of Morpheus, Hypnos, and Thanatos.
And when He has awoken, risen from the sleep of death to the promise of the sun,
like the sweet-smelling Nefertem His petals open to the sky and the sun above,
touched with red rather than blue in honor of Eos and Her son Memnon,
and being fragrant before the Gods like an offering of the ankh and Ma’at
in bread and beer, in water, and in the finest perfumes which Bast’s jars can contain;
the child of Ptah and Sekhmet comes forth in His splendor at Hermopolis Magna
to welcome the new God in His crown and mantle of red, and the Two Gods together
sing the hymn of the morning to the ascending of the stars at the inundation.
The shining city of upon the Nile’s sunrise shore so celebrated by the Muses
is called Antinoöpolis, with buildings of good white stone and sphinx-lined streets
where the Gods are given temples and the people of the Two Lands and of Greece and Rome
are given homes and measures of grain in abundance, in the justice of the Gods;
and the new God Whose seat is there, Who drowned upon the shore where the island came forth
is called by name Antnus, in the Greek tongue Antinoös, and in the Latin Antinous–
and may His name be repeated and refrained upon a thousand tunes in the throats of millions,
for it is the name which brings joy and peace to those who are in awe of Him.
Sing, O Muses, for the new God Antinous in His beautiful city as the sun rises,
and as it persists in the sky through the day into the noontide hours,
and in its descent into the West and the darkness of night, and again through its passage
in the realms of shadow; and for the beauty of the city and its God–once human,
Who came under the lily-breasts of Hera in His deification–may Iris, handmaiden of Hera,
bring Her tidings of jubilation in Her many-colored raiment across the sky
to frame the shining city upon the sunrise shore of the Nile’s fertile valley
with an arch fit for a God as beautiful and bright as the Boy-God, Antinous.
[Iris has made an unexpected guest appearance herein for two reasons: earlier today, one of my students had the unfortunate typographical error of writing “Iris” instead of “Isis,” and I had to correct him on that; but, apparently doing so caused Her to appear, as on the bus trip home tonight, I saw one of the brightest full-bow rainbows I’ve ever seen, which framed my apartment–or, more likely, my Shrine–beautifully as I approached it, and it wasn’t only a bright full-bow rainbow, but there was a fainter second rainbow surrounding it! So, cue DOUBLE RAINBOW feels…!?!]
And, in other news, Pete Burns, lead singer of the group Dead or Alive, died. You might recognize this song, which was their biggest hit of the 1980s…
[Gods…that hair, and that purple jacket…I’D LOVE TO HAVE BOTH! And so Dionysian…!?!]
Pete was gorgeous, and stylish, and at the forefront of the androgyny movement/look in the 1980s–always flaunting convention, saying things that pretty much are the same things modern gender-variant and genderqueer folks say today. Pete was also historically bisexual, with a long-term marriage to a woman and more recently a marriage to a man.
Just as David Bowie earlier this year, I think Pete Burns qualifies eminently to be honored as one of the Sanctum of the Tetrad++…but, what do you reckon?
In any case, I know Pete is singing and dancing and entertaining many with that same inimitable style and grace now in the realms beyond, and will never be forgotten!
Ignis Corporis Infirmat; Ignis sed Animae Perstat!