I have remembered those waters of my first beginning,
sheltering the banks on either side where I travel;
before my mother, before my father, before my earth and sky,
this deluge from which the holy mound rose on the first day.
Darkness, shade, and the snares of nightfall cannot know me,
nor can my scent reach their ravenous nostrils;
they who know time, flesh, and the bones of living men,
who seek the company of earthbound spirits to bring them down.
But the Gods sail with me when I take to the celestial waterway,
their luminescence reaching out with hallowed arms before me;
no shade can stride farther than their reach of electrum brilliance.
I am in the entourage of that dazzling heron of the first dawn,
whose plumage bespeaks the light rays of the sun,
his bill of pure gold fresh with the perfume of the lotus.
His enchantments sail with me and upon my strong arms;
like those of a god of the First Occasion, whose voice recalls the sacred flood,
my words of power pierce the cloud banks and are heard by all spirits.
Great Heron is my name when I sail the nether waterways,
when my silver-white crest is read from a distance of millions of strides;
and the spirits say of me:
“Behold! There is one who comes among us with the torch of a god;
his savor is essence of lotus, and his plume is the crest of the sacred heron.
His beaming face is the disk of the Sun-God,
whose electrum mirror knows the uppermost sky.
See how the shades and twilight spirits flee before his feet of sharp malachite,
which have traversed the hallows where Ra the great Ram-Soul is reborn.
Smell his essence of myrrh which goes before him,
predicting his rising from the corpse of the silent earth;
but silence does not become him,
and his tongue rends the sky with divine language.
The Gods sail with him when he takes to the celestial waterway”.
My words are the memory of that First Occasion which came before men,
rippling out across the opaque waters of our beginning.
Having heard the swallows in their primordial sky,
I repeated to my heart what the Sun-God spoke when he first opened his eyes:
I summon the body of the sky from the nether waters;
the sky is my mother who shall give me birth from her body of fine gold.
I summon my light-body from her belly to burn as one of the Imperishable Stars;
she is my mantle, and I am the flame that burns for her by day.
I summon my bones as a ladder reaching up to the arms of my starry mother;
she stretches out her arms of gold for me and takes me to her breast.
I summon my hair of lapis lazuli to glint upon her shoulders by night;
she takes my shining locks to her brow as sovereign of the upper regions.
I summon the silver crescent of twilight to embrace her holy thigh;
my mother of the sky receives her eventide mantle as light of horizons.
I summon the golden net of nightfall in which flicker the souls of stars;
her breasts and thighs glisten in her veil upon which the Gods reign.
I summon my two eyes from the cover of the shady waters;
she hallows my right eye as daylight and my left eye as evening’s guide.
I summon my nostrils as the essence of that first lotus upon the flood;
she takes my breath as her voice by which the repeating dawn is heralded.
I summon my two lips in darkness and open my mouth to the waters;
she opens her dappled thighs and fills the void with her waters of the nether sky.
I summon my two ears by the east and west-facing mountains;
she breaks open her horizons at the thundering voice of my light-body.
I summon the day and the night as the two horizons of my travels;
she swallows me at dusk to give me birth on the first morning of the sky.
These are the enchantments I heard from the swallows
when the first morning clothed the naked sky with his ruddy mantle;
my eyes peering out over the celestial waterway to receive its turquoise glare,
I beheld the mound of the earth ascending from the pristine flood.
Who held back the torrent for my ship to pass when the waters surged?
The Gods sailed with me in their breath of magical power,
coming forth by daylight as the language of the Sun-God’s names;
they hold his forms and his tongues in secret,
known only to the swallows who ascend with his unceasing rays.
Great and elder sun I call out your names
when water travels fast over the banks of my earth,
when come the floods of shadow that rend boats from their moorings.
I have remembered your language from which the Unwearying Stars rose;
their lights are my lights, and their rising is my rising in the florid sky.
O banks of the earth who hold corpses fast in their trappings,
you cannot hold me in your time or your decay,
for the Gods sail with me when I go forth by day into the nether waters;
they take me round the great mooring post in heaven,
where the indestructible stars shine with the fire of my names.
Darkness, shade, and shadows cannot find me where I glimmer,
nor the snares of water catch my lotus essence where it glides.
They who know only shade will never see me as I pass,
for the light I bear turns eyes away that cannot know their beginning.
The Gods sail with me when I take to the celestial waterway,
when these eyes of mine take to the horizons where sky becomes my mother.
All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa