Anonymous Love Poems from Ancient Egypt (1567-1085 B.C.E.)
With you here at Mertu
Is like being at Heliopolis already.
We return to the tree filled garden,
My arms full of flowers.
Looking at my reflection in the still pool -
my arms full of flowers -
I see you creeping on tip-toe
To kiss me from behind,
My hair heavy with perfume.
With your arms around me
I feel as if I belong to the Pharaoh.
So small are the flowers of Seamu
Whoever looks at them feels like a giant.
I am first among your loves,
Like a freshly sprinkled garden of grass and perfumed flowers.
Pleasant is the channel you have dug
In the freshness of the north wind.
Your voice gives life, like nectar.
To see you, is more than food or drink.
There are flowers of Zait in the garden.
I cut and bind flowers for you,
Making a garland,
And when you get drunk
And lie down to sleep it off,
I am the one who bathes the dust from your feet.
I find my love fishing
his feet in the shallows.
We have breakfast together,
And drink beer.
I offer him the magic of my thighs
He is caught in the spell.
Translated from Italian by Ezra Pound and Noel Stock, “based on literal translations of the hieroglyphic texts into Italian by Boris de Rachewiltz.”
The Penguin Book of Women Poets. Ed. Carol Cosman, et al. Allen Lane. London 1978 / Viking Press 1979, 399 pages. ISBN 0140422250