I’ve been posting scattershot this and that from Dumuzi and am feeling moved now to be a bit more steady and thoroughgoing at it. So I think I’ll post, as they come into their final framing, the picture poems I’ve made to tell the descent to hell and rescue and apotheosis of Inanna.
She’s the one who drew me into this biz in the first place many years ago. Before my true north turned out to be her rather less empowered but dearer to me now shepherd lover. She for me has been every woman, starting with the first of me, I have wanted to save or hold or leave or be safe with or from. “Devastatrix of the Lands.” O she’s a terror. And too she’s those eyes in the tent with Pound at Pisa not scornful. Kuanyin, what gentles.
So that got heavy. Also this is a comic book built out of junk mail. Anyway I’m thinking here at blog to intersperse the images with the source texts — in a way I won’t be able to in Dumuzi itself. If anyone’s ever fool enough to publish the damn fool thing.
The sequence begins with a word poem I hope gets the hapless awe one feels in the face of powers orders of magnitude huger than anything one could imagine mustering.
off a face
at an altar
and the mountain
The title came from Pound’s “What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee.”
Next, a picture poem.
Kinda porny, I know, sorry. Goes with the territory (fertility myth). Intertitle, to tuck in at lower right, looks like this.
The ground for it, the coitus and the tristesse, looks like this in the source where I first found them (The Ancient Near East: A New Anthology of Texts and Pictures, Vol. II, ed. James B. Pritchard).
The “honey-man,” the “honey-man” sweetens me ever,
My lord, the “honey-man” of the gods, my favored of the womb,
Whose hand is honey, whose foot is honey, sweetens me ever.
Whose limbs are honey sweet, sweetens me ever.
My sweetener of the . . . navel, [my favored of the womb],
My . . . of the fair thighs, he is lettuce [planted by the water].
It is a balbale of Inanna.
Somewhat more felicitous, and just for that more blushful, is Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer’s translation in Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth:
He shaped my loins with his fair hands,
The shepherd Dumuzi filled my lap with cream and milk,
He stroked my pubic hair,
He watered my womb.
He laid his hands on my holy vulva,
He smoothed my black boat with cream,
He quickened my narrow boat with milk,
He caressed me on the bed.
I prefer the anatomically more precise term “happy place.” Anyway, as all things must, this comes to dust. Says Inanna:
Now, my sweet love is sated.
Now he says:
“Set me free, my sister, set me free.
You will be a little daughter to my father.
Come, my beloved sister, I would go to the palace.
Set me free . . .”
I gave the restless to her cuz she’s the one to go awandering. That’s up soon. Thanks for scanning.