In 2006, 82 years after the discovery of Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s burial site, listed as KV62 in the catalog of tombs in the Valley of the Kings, another sealed chamber, containing five coffins, was found a few meters away. It became
Three thousand cycles of the sky
The five lay waiting in this hall;
Oil lamps were extinguished;
Total darkness covered them;
Sustenance in stoppered jars
Stood ready for their needs.
Silence for so many years,
Then shifting stones, a breath of air,
Voices in an unknown tongue,
Faces, smells; Osiris come?
But, alas, what time had done!
Bodies, once so slim and strong,
Now shriveled, blackened, crumbling;
Painted coffins termite-chewed;
Treasures tarnished; nard and food
Dust or faintest fragrance.
It may have seemed
The night was endless after all;
But they would not despair
Before the priests could sing
The Book of Death,
The Book of Life.
©2006 John I. Blair