Twentieth Century Hymn to Isis
Dispersed and spent,
As in legend the limbs of Osiris
Crying one to another, the unknowing undying
Scattered limbs of the god:
On the winter waters
The hand without fingers,
The feet without speed,
The head without thought, the torso hacked and adrift
And its heart in a house without windows
Beaten upon by the sea,
Where were you then, my sister, my soul?
Through the two kingdoms, imploring
The Upper Region, the Lower, getting no answer?
Asking the birds of the sky
Who deceived you and vanished?
We called you,
We the sad limbs in dispersion.
But flying you sought us.
The dead could not stop you.
No, nor the horns of Evil
Those that undid us.
And we cried, scattered.
Cried, and were mute.
And you came, O soul, my sister,
Flying, quick with compassion, the sleepless mother,
To the hand its fingers, and speed to the feet,
And the heart
Beating again in the body, healed and made whole,
And the brow
Crowned with thought, lord of the nether kingdom.
Shall we not rule?
Can we forgive and govern?
You beside me, and I
That lately was many, scattered and tossing
On the horns of the
Savage dividing waters,
Can we endure?
Death under our sceptre. O
Sharper than death, unpersuadable Evil
Behind and before us?
Speak, mother and bride, my sister:
We that were
Scattered, now are made one,
We that were
Parted, now are at peace.
O do not
Lay a lightest feather upon the scales
Held in equipoise of triumphant stillness.
Now, my sister, my soul, requited, remember
As I, requited, foresee
The workings of Evil, past and to come.
Nor deny —
Denial only is dying —
This moment of union.