Composed around 1850 BC, Sinuhe is the supreme masterpiece of ancient Egyptian poetry. The poem is a fictional official’s autobiography, supposedly carved on the walls of his tomb, and his story forms a passionate probing of his culture’s ideals and anxieties. In a moment of panic Sinuhe flees Egypt at this death of his king. His adventures bring wealth and power, but his failure to find a meaningful life abroad is only redeemed by the new king’s mercy, and he finally returns home to be buried.
Listen to the full poem below: