Friday, September 24, 2010

Nin-me-sar-ra (Adoration of Inanna) - II

This is the second of a four-part translation of the oldest surviving lyric poem in human history. In this segment, the author, Enheduanna, for the first time in recorded history, names herself, as part of her taking on her high priestess role for Inanna, who is portrayed here as an all-powerful, but distinctly feminine God.

Lady, Supreme there, who'd dare take your Earth?
If you frown at the mountains, the green there will die,
The canyons will burst into flames, and blood will flow
Down rivers because of you, that people will not drink.
The soldiers must gather together, to surrender to you,
The elite troops must gather together, to disband for you,
The young men must gather together, to stand before you.
In the taverns of pleasure, a storm brews,
The best men are hunted as captives for you.

You speak for those who can't say "the land is yours,"
And will not declare "in the name of your loving Father."
He has spoken the Word and your footing's restored:
The sheep disappear from their stalls,
And women no longer speak of love with their spouses,
They no longer consort in the depths of the night,
No longer reveal the future inside them.
Wild and impetuous Cow, Great Daughter of Sin,
Queen greater than Heaven, who'd take your province away?

The Great Queen of Queens, born for the Word,
Born of a fate-laden body, you are greater
Than even your mother, a sage over all the lands
Who gives life to all of Earth's people,
I give birth to you with this song!
Goddess of Truth, fit for the Word,
You speak with magnificent force
And unfathomable heart—I'll intone the Word for you!

Enheduanna has entered the rectory for your sake,
To serve, my fate, as ornament.
When I carried the cup, and struck up the song of joy
They set down my meal as if I had never lived there.
I came toward the light, but the light was too bright.
I came to the shadow, it was veiled by the storm.
My sweet mouth became full of venom,
My power to heal turned to dust.