He Prays to Set By Night

Set Stela

My beloved is pious when the river floods;
a trail of myrrh following in his footsteps.
Am I a god’s servant then, adhering to those tamarisk feet?
I wait for his boons to rise high on the sacred waters.

My beloved embraces the Gods at the three seasons of the day.
He prays to Amun in the morning; his heart becomes hidden.
He prays to Ptah in the afternoon; his hands absorbed in their labors;
but he prays to Set by night, when his exploits provoke the blazing of stars.

Come with your lamplight to a shrine made ready by the six-day moon;
its myrrh is succor to desert-wearied skin.
This is the royal body of Khensu-Neferhotep, cradled in the lap of stars;
his essence of lotus drawing out prayers from fervent lips.

In the morning your prayers summon the ardor of the Sun-God;
when high noon comes the ears of Ptah imbibe your supplications;
at eventide Set whose passions are roused makes of your tongue His arrow.
My heart becomes the footstool of the Gods, uplifting your unclad toes.

Let the Gods who process the gilt constellations open oracular mouths.
Lord Amun completes His moment when He rises on His mound;
Ptah who is south of His wall encircles the sky as its sunlit master;
Set the raging rules the Red Land with His mighty hand.

Is it your Amun who by morning’s light draws back the dusky veil?
Is it Ptah who opens the lotus on the waters revealing the naked sun?
Is it Set’s fist that governs the bow by which the northern sky is rent?
You answer these with a priest’s devotion as you draw back the bedclothes.

Amun-Ra young bull with sharp horns whose brow knows heaven’s light;
your right eye illumines the earth by day, your left to shine by night.
Adoration of Amun whose skin of gold alights upon His mound;
where darkness clothes the empty waters your hidden light is found.

O Ptah Lord of the Sky whose hearing ear opens south of His walls;
yours are the ears of the midday sun, and those when eventide calls.
May acclaim be yours O beautiful of face who knows the ancient earth;
your two hands move the waters in darkness to give their lotus birth.

Praise of Setesh Lord of Might by whose hand the bow is drawn;
by night who smites the rebel-serpent and with red fist raises dawn.
The Red Land drinks your fury when by storm your voice is known;
the Ark of Ra declares your prowess by twilight where it is shown.

O Gods your footfall knows the shrine of my heart left open to the sky;
whose lapis veil finds me enveloped in myrrh to await the flood.
He comes with full lips immersed in prayer to honor the six-day feast;
whose prophecy declares the filling of the eye high in the lapis vault.

How date palms ride the hot breath of flood season looming at my door;
held open for the passage of gods carried by your devoted mouth.
Stir a breeze for me with praying lips sweet with tamarisk honey;
a flood of their own upon which gods sail during every holy season.

My beloved is pious when his river floods;
he brings three gods with devoted hands.
His body carries the mark of their favors;
boons which multiply as he sheds his royal linen.

My beloved embraces the Gods as the Two Lands know their seasons.
He prays to Amun in the morning; his hidden heart is flooded.
He prays to Ptah in the afternoon; his hands are the leaders of craftsmen;
but he prays to Set by night, when his lover’s deeds fill the Gods with wonder.

All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

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