Ateruw / I Will Never Let Them Go

Ateruw

They glide past my eyes on either side,
these jewels the Gods dropped one by one
into the floodwaters;
the finest gold, turquoise, and malachite,
catching the sun’s hands by the tips of their fingers;
these jewels the Gods dropped one by one
into the river they love.

I have loved, too, as I dropped my body for you,
wrapped in dazzling white linen
on the breath of a festival day;
taking to the waters that drew near to kiss me,
as I imagined your skin drawing near in perfection.
Ateruw is the name of this flood that knows my name,
gliding past my eyes on either side.

I could tell the eyes of the sky
that the Earth-God has summoned me;
His arms flashing with turquoise,
His limbs of burnished gold making a mirror of my skin;
but my hands caught the river
in their eager net of flesh,
with kisses and devotion sliding beneath his surface.

They glide past my eyes on either side,
these prayers my lips have woven one by one;
into the flood they have slipped with desire,
to flash beneath the surface for my hungry net.
Rosy gold and most holy stone have dropped from my sight,
their words of value still singing to my ears;
and I will never let them go, once their song has faded.

I have sung songs the sacred river knows,
wrapped in heady myrrh on a festival day.
Their words catch the Gods in a net of perfume,
carried on sandalwood with jasmine flowers in bloom.
They are the jewels that draw near in perfection,
as other voices slip through the holes my net leaves;
and I will never let them go, once their time has ended.

I could tell the ears of the river
that the Sky-Goddess has summoned me;
Her thighs embraced by a canopy of stars,
Her golden breasts full for my hungry lips;
but my hands caught the clouds
in their quick net of lust,
with my spirit and intentions lost beneath his surface.

They glide past my eyes on either side,
these flowers the Gods dropped one by one
into their earthly garden;
carnelian, jasper, and real lapis lazuli,
catching the breath of the sky by the tip of Her tongue;
these jewels the Gods have let slip by me,
one by one into the river they love.

I have loved, too, as I dropped my shadow for you,
wrapped in a heart of fiery red stone
on the glare of a midsummer day;
taking to the holy sycamore that drew near to kiss me,
as I imagined your soul drawing near in perfection.
Ateruw is the name of this vessel that holds me,
gliding past my eyes on either side.

I could tell the lips of the earth
that the Gods have summoned me;
their souls of turquoise like flames rising high,
their wings of lapis lazuli holding the sun in His mirror;
but my hands caught the western mountains
in their net of flesh and bone,
with my heart and shadow lost beneath his surface.

I have held the jewels the Gods once held,
wrapped in their mysteries
on the skin of a festival day;
taking to the waters that slip by the net of my eyes,
tempting my hands with perfection as they draw near.
They are the words my soul’s ears will always hear,
and I will never let them go, once my heart has mended.

All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

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Stronger Than the Current / Beautiful Crocodile

Stronger Than the Current

When the holy river comes for me
he is a raging nest of crocodiles in my path;
what light the stars shone was consumed
by their cavernous bellies;
the stars of the north which rose for me;
the Bull’s Thigh which sent me a ladder,
glinting upon my lapis horizon;
a torch which showered molten gold upon my feet.
These are the treasures the sky gave me,
dressed in their luminous mantle;
and I too wore that cloak of stars on my shoulders,
until the river came with his terrors.

This flood pulls down the horizon from my brow,
coming down from between the mountains to take me.
In his wet hands like a lover I fall,
opening my heart to be devoured by the depths;
but this heart of mine is stronger than the current,
a stone of malachite with his flint edge.

Beautiful crocodile, I taste your bite and inhale your savor,
your gold, and your carnelian eyes;
you bring me my death, and I bring you my smile;
for this body you take is not the one in which I travel.
Beautiful crocodile, I take your bite for a lover,
and my heart grows back as a malachite stone.
These are the treasures the dark flood has given me,
what create or destroy the passions of men.

When your holy body comes for me
he is a torch of fragrant cedar in the arms of the wind;
his navel of electrum shines through the veil
twilight brings with his whisper.
I am confounded by your myrrh worn like a garland;
I am suspended from your neck as a chain of gold;
and who seeks me out but a heart of malachite
with his flint edge,
that beautiful crocodile with his ecstatic bite.
A stream of moonlight shone from my hand,
drawn from your stellar skin I had by heaven’s gaze;
these are the treasures the earth gave me,
stripped of his dusky mantle;
and I too wore that cloak of moonlight on my shoulders,
until the sun came with his commands.

Beautiful crocodile, I wear your skin and know your scales,
your teeth, and your potent aura;
you bring me my second life, and I bring you my power;
for this heart you take is not the one in which I travel.
Beautiful crocodile, I take your flesh for a lover,
and my will grows back as a malachite stone.
These are the treasures the dark night has given me,
what create or destroy the futures of men.

When the holy flood returns for me
he is a shady sycamore in my path;
what light the stars shine is sheltered in his branches;
the northern stars that rise for my brow,
the Bull’s Thigh that opens my eyes;
the heron of luminous crest
surpassing twilight’s grasp;
a torch of fine gold appearing in east’s mirror,
whose gaze falls upon my feet ascending.
These are the treasures the sky gives me,
dressed in their eternal mantle;
and I too wear that cloak of stars on my shoulders,
until the river comes with his darkness.

This flood brings up the horizon to my brow,
rushing up from between his thighs to take me.
In his wet hands like a lover I fall,
opening my heart to be devoured by the depths;
but this heart of mine is stronger than the current,
a stone of malachite with his flint edge.

Beautiful crocodile, I taste your vigor and inhale your desire,
your turquoise, and your thighs of gold;
you bring me my life, and I bring you my vessel;
for this body you take is not the one in which I travel.
Beautiful crocodile, I take your soul for a lover,
and my heart grows back as a malachite stone.
These are the treasures the dark flood has given me,
what create or destroy the eternities of men.

All text copyright © 2016 Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa