Sunday, 20 January 2013

Thanks be to Thoth - Joan Lennon

I have a small baboon statue sitting by my computer.  He represents one of the manifestations of the Egyptian god Thoth, who invented the alphabet, and writing, and therefore made possible my working life.  (That would be the Egyptian alphabet, of course, but near enough.)  When the gods felt the need of a scribe, he was the one they turned to.  He is, as well, a kind of pagan patron saint of anyone who makes their way in the world with quill and papyrus or their equivalents.  I pat his head on such a regular basis that it has gone ever so slightly shiny.  He is remarkably reluctant to be photographed, but this is how he looks in the British Museum (above) and the Louvre (below).

And, emboldened by Miriam Halahmy's New Year's Resolution, I include a poem about him and me and muse blues ...

Baboon by the Keyboard

Egyptian god of scribes
squats on my desk
supervises superciliously.
He doesn’t bother to show
the canines behind his lips.
Around his shoulders
he wears a mantle of ancient hair.
His gaze is fixed
on the middle distance.
He is
impossible to impress.
Egyptian scribe to the gods
disdainful bastard
I’ll get you yet.

(published in Northwords Now Issue 18 Summer 2011 - visit this excellent poetry magazine here.)

Joan's website.
Joan's blog.


Anonymous said...
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Sue Purkiss said...

Like the poem! I like to have things on and around my desk, too - little companions...

Lynda Waterhouse said...

Love the poem particularly the last lines! Am feeling a bit like a baboon myself as I sit unwashed ( too cold in the bathroom) bundled in layers in front of my keyboard

Mavis said...

Love it! I want one.

Katherine Langrish said...

Loved it, Joan!

Jenny Alexander said...

I have a Thoth as well Joan - and I've blogged about it too!

Joan Lennon said...

Thank you, Sue, Baboon-Lynda, Mavis, Katherine and Jenny! And isn't it boggling, the way Thoth is sometimes a baboon and sometimes an ibis-headed human, as he is on Jenny's post - those Egyptians had flexible imaginations!

Nick Green said...

Little known fact: Thoth was also the god of sausages, satsumas, Worcester sauce and lisps.

Joan Lennon said...

A multi-faceted man. Baboon. Ibis. Whatever. Or should that be fatheted and ibith?