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VxPoem ID: 14320


Posted: July 12th. 2005 12:47:47 AM

Views: 2503

Inanna at the Break of Eve (Descent part I)

by B. T. Newberg

Age Group: Adult

O lover's memory like a ripened fruit,
How sober did I chew thy peal!--as I
Before a willow drooping destitute
Within a mountain's shadow heaved a sigh.
The sun hung red, and soon a goat began to cry,
While high above the peak into a cloud
Removed itself; and meanwhile in the sky
There frowned some ancient god, whose sky-dome proud
Its distance kept, though roiling red and heavy-browed.

Before me oped a crevice black and narrow,
Hidden 'neath the willow boughs and stone,
And leading deathly down into a barrow
'Neath the mountain, where a sullen crone--
My sister, Ereshkigal--kept her throne,
And from that seat of bone and feather queened
Upon the dead: no leaf nor blossom blown
Escaped her brace, nor memory tambourined
In lonely mourning when a life from life was weaned.

Into the crack I solemnly intended,
But a wind came ripping like a claw,
And held me back: old Enlil's winds portended
What would happen if I spurned the law
Of feathered death and climbed into its craw.
I stood there underneath the willow long
With arms akimbo; dusk pulled down its draw,
And dimness overtook the vale, erelong
The hooting birds of night began the evensong.

A river somewhere rushed along that vale,
For soft and steady gurgle-gushed its sound
Betwixt the campfire crackles, while the shale
And rock kept quiet; meanwhile I turned round
The stratagems to gain my sister's mound.
As crossed I sat and stewed the late-night thought,
The straw-like autumn grass around me wound
Its fingers, but the flirts of sleep I caught
And crushed: no peace before I gained the thing I sought!

Author's Notes: The first part of "Inanna Just Before Her Descent Into the Underworld." This is to be followed by Part II: Inanna in the Dark of Night, and Part III: Inanna at the Cusp of Dawn.

This story, which has no historical precedent, fits in the open space between the myths of Inanna's marriage and her descent. The myths of the Inanna's courtship and marriage to Dumuzi portray an ideal, simple romance. Yet the myths of Inanna's descent to the underworld and return, in which she chooses Dumuzi to take her place in hell, betray a much more complicated relationship. The subject of this poem is a moment after her love has lost its simplicity, yet before she fully realizes where the relationship is headed. Feelings arise as she hesitates before the mouth of the tunnel to the underworld...

copyright 2005

As a Naturalistic Pagan, I believe in evidence. There is no evidence that deities and magic are "real" in the most literal sense, but they may yet be moving and powerful. These poems are a tribute to the inspiration of Pagan ways.

For more information on naturalism, see

Author's Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
More Poems: B. T. Newberg has posted 73 additional poems- View them?
Author's Profile: To learn more about B. T. Newberg - Click HERE
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