Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "To Control Powers"

This poem is from the April 2, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from moonwolf1988 about Egyptian blood magic and her vampires from the series Donor House.  I aimed this to be compatible without being explicit; up to her on whether this turns out to be canonical or not.  This poem also fills the "ritual" square on my card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo fest.

To Control Powers

Heka is art and craft,
science and religion and magic.
Heka is the way
to control powers.

Power over the darkness
flows in the blood of the nightjars.
Power over the light
flows in the blood of the smun-geese.

Power over life
grows in the leaves of the ankh-amu plant.
Power over death
grows in the root of the footprint-of-Isis plant.

Grip them in the hand of a dead man,
take shavings from his head;
lay all before an altar where burns a brazier
of myrrh and frankincense and the Anubis-plant.

Such is the spellcasting
of the priests of the Black Land,
who seek to control powers,
who desire life beyond life.

They are the ones who make mummies,
who prepare the bodies of the dead
for the journey into the afterlife
to face the gods.

They are the ones who seal pyramids
with mighty curses, who want guards
that may never tire or sway
to keep safe the sleep of the ages.

If the lips of the priests
are stained red
with more than rouge,
who is to speak of it?

If there is a priest
whose name is the same
as one from centuries ago,
who dares to question him?

To master heka
is to control power,
even the white feather
of truth and justice.

To master heka
is to bind time,
press politics with will,
determine what comes to pass.

Those who know the secrets
keep them behind crimson lips;
on this matter, even the holy walls
of the city of Memphis stand mute.

* * *


Heka is a type of Egyptian magic.

Read more about magic in ancient Egypt.

Memphis was the center of Egyptian culture during some periods.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, ethnic studies, fantasy, fishbowl, history, horror, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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