Hymn to Nephthys the Reveler

For Elizabeth

To Nephthys the Reveler

Hail Nephthys, dutiful daughter of Geb
and starry Nut, you who have known
greater grief than your fellows,
O mistress of the house of Seth who longs
for his return from the desert where he hunts
wild beasts and shirks his responsibilities,
foremost among those who mourn
with Isis for the Green One,
Osiris, king of those below,
whom they will never see again,
mother whose alabaster arms are empty
with only the memory of the happy,
dog-headed boy you once nursed at your breast
to fill them with, Anubis who was reared
by your sister as a playmate for Horus the prince.
But, O Nephthys, you are also companion
in the revels of Petempamenti, who delights
in the drum, the sistrum and the shrill
shriek of Min’s pipes played by his shaggy servants
and the spirits who inhabit trees and lakes.
Lord of the mask is he, and God of the sacred beverage
made from the fruit of the vine
after it has been stomped thoroughly
and left to ferment in large amphorae underground.
He alone of the divine host of Upper and Lower Egypt
has the power to help you forget your sorrows for a few hours
and even put a smile on your beautiful face,
O Nephthys, whom only the initiates of his mysteries
have heard the laughter of. So remember us,
dear Goddess, as we remember you in our gay songs.