Edmund Griffiths  

E d m u n d   G r i f f i t h s


He should have lived much earlier
hunted big game through the shade in the valley
sung complicated songs over simple graves
when all those stories had not yet been told
and Ra only meant the sun

He should have lived much later
helped to translate the Law into Greek
dwelt in the truth within earshot of the mosque
in a hermitage in Nitria studied the unity
gone from choral evensong to dinner at Shepheard’s

but living when he did
what choice did he have
he wrote his hymn and got married to his daughter
And we all do much the same
in a world that is not quite right for us

too advanced and too backward
by some thousands of years each way
so that all of us make our compromises
sometimes not really knowing it
and carry Thebes with us even into Akhet Aten