My Only Sister
I never met my only sister
Never saw her save in dreams.
Sometimes she dressed in drifting mists,
Or else in filmy robes she lazed
In shades of lapis lazuli and chrysoprase.
Silver rings on her slim fingers,
See her dancing in the moonlight,
Swirling hair and golden skin.
I never met her, never kissed her
On the lips, breathed in her incense,
Heard her sing. I often sought her
In the mountains, through the thickets,
By the sea. When she whispers
In the springtime as the sun sinks
In the west, I will follow
Her wet footprints through the sand
And down into the hollow caverns
Underground, hear the sound of distant breakers
On the shores of darkened seas
Where the serpent waits his prey.
Far, far away, deep in the night
Shines the light of a moving star:
Through the murk and the fog, fully armed
Her crew on the watch, a vessel approaches—
The Boat of Ra with all the gods.
My sister in her glory on the deck
Calls to me across the water,
Will I come and join the crew,
Sail with Ra and her to be happy
Ever after in the Kingdom of the Dead?
Note: The ancient Egyptians believed that each night Ra, the sun god, with all his fellow gods and goddesses sailed in a boat through the night seas, fighting off all the evil demons and especially the evil and immortal serpent, Apep, which sought to swallow and destroy them. After what must have been a very stressful and tiring voyage they emerged at dawn.