760. In the Reign of the Pharaoh Totmes, by Harry Martinson

Our overseer of the rowers is going to die soon.
Although the voyage has been long he uses the leather scourge
on our gashes and chafed sores.
He takes a beaker of fermented slave-woman's milk at the overseer's

He is going to die in Dendera. We rowers have decided.
Since we will have killed him, we will all be beheaded on the sand.

Everything is happening now as it must.
All our oars are thrashing towards Dendera.
The ship is forging ahead on the water as if on a thousand feet.

(trans Robin Fulton)

Source: Chickweed Wintergreen: Selected Poems