Dead Fingers Talk

HuneferDead fingers talk. Our language comes from community, from those present and from those who have gone before us. Keep it simple! Charles Olson wrote that the breath is the unit of composition in poetry. Our texts are echoes of other texts, others have breathed before us. Truth is the raw material of poetry and has been recognised as such since the earliest days of the alphabet, the alpha and omega of writing.

In the accompaning illustration from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the scene, from the Papyrus of Hunefer (c. 1275 BC), shows the scribe Hunefer’s heart being weighed on the scale of Maat against the feather of truth, by the jackal-headed Anubis. The ibis-headed Thoth, scribe of the gods, records the result. If his heart equals exactly the weight of the feather, Hunefer is allowed to pass into the afterlife. If not, he is eaten by the waiting chimeric devouring creature Ammit composed of the deadly crocodile, lion, and hippopotamus. 


 

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