Poems

They Think I Am a King: Yes, I Am the King

I need the Word
like my ancestor’s need for stone and fire
like his need for an axe, for a spear, for a shield
like his need for the solace of a flute...

I enriched you
like life is enriched by day
like a wolf is enriched by a night with no moon
I enriched the longing for transcendence
I stayed neither to preach nor to barter with the skins of animals
I stayed to bear witness to the dignity of women enslaved

..

Wars consumed your remains
Their traces captivated your disciples
in thrall to your fierce charm
You taught me
You delivered me from ignorance
They think I am a king:
Yes, I am the King

 

Painted sandstone figure of a flute-player, from the royal ritual bath at Meroe. The head was stolen from the museum in the 1960s. 100 bc–ad 100. uc8964

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