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Interview with Nephthys

It's no secret among the Egyptian gods that Nephthys is a little moody. What they don't all know, however, is that she's interested in poetry. Whether or not it has anything to do with her connection to Seshat, or whether she just has a lot of angst to unload, she's got a whole notebook full of sonnets and other poems, some she collected and some she even wrote herself. Shmoop was able to borrow a few pages while the Lady of Bandages was helping Anubis bring in the afterlife's latest residents.

[The first page bears a beautiful sonnet, and a note in Nephthys's handwriting: "Learn to write like this. PRACTICE! Shakespeare, Sonnet 13. Hint to Osiris?"This sonnet is indeed Shakespeare's, and not original]

O! that you were your self; but, love you are
No longer yours, than you your self here live:
Against this coming end you should prepare,
And your sweet semblance to some other give:
So should that beauty which you hold in lease
Find no determination; then you were
Yourself again, after yourself's decease,
When your sweet issue your sweet form should bear.
Who lets so fair a house fall to decay,
Which husbandry in honour might uphold,
Against the stormy gusts of winter's day
And barren rage of death's eternal cold?
O! none but unthrifts. Dear my love, you know,
You had a father: let your son say so.

[On the back of the first page are three attempts at free verse and rhyme, probably original. One of the poems is crossed out with the note "Sounds too much like Emily Dickinson. She's such a downer!" written next to it in Nephthys' tiny script.]

so much depends

a wood coffin

under the gold

did beetles get
in it?

[Poem crossed out]

As by the dead we love to sit,
As they all gather here,
And wait upon the judgment seat
Osiris on his bier—

And slowly as they gather
Their hearts, for Ma'at's scale,
Soft, then ascending louder,
The wicked start to wail!

[The third poem on the page is titled "The Jackal"]

Jackal! Jackal! black as night
In the Duat, land of light,
What Egyptian hand or eye
Could paint thy pointy muzzle right?

With whose paint pots or whose pen
Could an artist draw thee, then?
How convey thy giant maw?
Paint thy fangs, and line thy jaw?

In what fashion, & what style,
Could they draw thy canine smile?
And in mighty halls of truth
Who would paint thee? & thy booth?

What the reason? what the scene?
Would they find thy teeth were clean?
What additions? who would fail
To pencil in thy stylish tail?

When the artist tries with tears,
To render true thy coal black ears,
Will he find thy favor then?
Or will Ammit eat his pen?

Jackal! Jackal! black as night
In the Duat, land of light,
What Egyptian hand or eye
Could paint thy pointy muzzle right?

[The second page includes doodles of skulls, bones, a heart that says "Seth" and another that says "Osiris," and an hourglass. Toward the top is a list of what appears to be notes for future poems]

  • Ode to Osiris as a Total Hunk
  • Ozymandias, King With Too Many Names
  • Another poem about a raven (but not too depressing)
  • The Night (i.e., tiny cat feet, like Sandburg but not)
  • Pharaoh, My Pharaoh
  • Stopping by Tombs on a Desert Evening
  • One God Two God Red God Blue God
  • i carry your heart with me (spoken by Anubis)
  • Why Seth is Such a Big, Big Jerk
  • How will I wrap thee? Let me count the ways
  • The Day Imhotep Died
  • You Should Go Gentle Into That Good Night
  • Osiris's Lover (this one is crossed out with the note: "Bad Idea if Isis reads it")
  • A Noiseless Patient Goddess
  • Where the Duat Ends

[The rest of the papers are filled with notes and attempts at lines of poetry for a six-book epic poem entitled Odysseus in the Field of Reeds and are too long to reproduce here.]

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