Thursday, April 24, 2014


Some of the dead of Egypt once rowed
The Boat of Ra across the sky or helped fend off
The monsters that suddenly blocked the way
Others went to the Fields of Iaru, a pleasant place
But you had to do your own work there
Hoeing and weeding and gathering; the ushabti
Spent their days singing and gossiping;
Instead of the three or more souls a man might have
Ushabti had one apiece. Still, Osiris liked them.

Long since the Boat was carefully docked
The rowers dispersed, becoming jinns or angels
Or being reborn as men or cats or cows
As seemed best to them. The Fields remain
Only a few ushabti in them, but they
Have learned to brew surpassing beer
Which they offer freely to the dead men
Who, mistaking their proper paths, find there
A good substitute for Heaven.

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