Beyoncé’s album about betrayal is great in several ways, but one of the things that make it so powerful is it’s about a situation as old as humans. Not marriage, no. Something deeper than that.

Thousands of years before people sang about Abraham, a woman sang about betrayal. And it went like this:

The teethmark she left on your lip creates anguish in my heart.

Why does it evoke the union of your body with mine now?

Damn you, Mādhava! Go! Késava, leave me!

Don’t plead your lies with me!

Go with her, Krishna!

She will ease your despair.

The red stains her lac-painted feet

Lovingly left on your heart

Look to me like fiery passion

Exposing itself on your skin.

Cheat, the image I have of you now

Flaunting our love’s break

Causing me more shame

Than sorrow.

Those are the two verses I relate to the most. But if you want the rest, they are here. The lesson? All those horrible things you think and feel when you find out…are as old as dirt.

(The only reason I know about this poem is because I have a brilliant daughter who goes around learning things and then telling me about them.)

 

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