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In a wall relief at the shrine of Hathor,
goddess of love and joy, Thutmose III,
Napoleon of Egypt, conqueror of Syria

holds a ball in one hand and in the other
a stick, “striking the ball for Hathor, foremost
in Thebes.” Seker-hemat, batting the ball.

The king’s priest plays the field, “catching it for him
by the servants of the gods,” ritual
for renewal and a relief to learn

that it was nothing new under the sun
when you buried your father with ball and glove.

— J. L. Wall

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