Start the New Year Off with Verse

There was a time when I was deeply influenced by Robert Graves’s The White Goddess. I still enjoy looking into it, although as with every re-read, not so thoroughly enchanted or amazed as the first time. Sorting through some papers to file bills and prepare for tax work, I found some old poems I had printed some time ago and thought they’d make a nice start to the new year here. Now, with which one to begin? Perhaps the newest…

 

Meditation on Tablets Five and Six

Ishtar,
who are
you?

…that Gilgamesh should reject
your proffered love when, wise with friendship
and success, he met
your presence walking in his garden
beneath the branched huluppa tree.
But the Uruking no longer chased after women
[why not?] and refused you. Why?

Who are you,
Ishtar,
that bulls from heaven
drop
and wild men, tamed, must die?

Ishtar,
are you
death?

Were you a picturewoman come dancing
full of wild life down from the walls
out of the halls
of forgotten caves, dripping lime water,
or simply
an emblem, iconographic cuneiform
for life’s pregnancy of meaning?

Did you sound the call
to summon his mortal third to destiny?
Or was his failure to reject
your ogress gaze, odorous praise, oviparous craze?

He could not see past death with you
But could not find any life without.

Still serpents hail your secondhand gift—bestowed by accident.

1985?


That’s one for today. We’re up to 87 hits today… thanks to whoever keeps searching Veronique Viardin (so I’ll pop her name in here if only to attract a hit to this post). The new year comes in on a real breath of cold to the midwest, but at least the snow has stopped for a while. I just watched Julie and Julia last night, so perhaps like Julie Powell, I should make some kind of new year’s resolution to post every day or somehow otherwise challenge myself. However, with “Underground” back for about two weeks now from Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, rejected, my main thought is to figure out a possible third publisher and get it in the mail again.

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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