A glimpse of paradise


Is there Paradise on earth?

Oh great strider

Who sows greenstone, malachite, turquoise – stars!

As you are green so may Teti be green,

Green as a living reed!

The beautiful poem, part of a Pyramid Text from King Teti’s tomb (dating to the Old Kingdom, c. 2300 BCE), refers to life after death: any natural beauty the king may wish for is in the realm beyond. In fact it is a hymn to the goddess Nut, she who bestrides the sky and strews stars with their green light across the firmament. But the allusion to green reeds, clearly by the banks of the river, is also an affirmation of life as we understand it, in the here and now. It is a wonderful example of how the ancient Egyptians viewed their universe.

Now, almost 4000 years later, the reeds remain part of the Nile environment:

Nile reeds Aswan: islands in the…

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