Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Parade of the Moon God Nanna-Sin

       "New Year's Day at the Ziggurat of Ur" by John McDermott

Assuredly, it was an auspicious day
A little warm, but who knew to care
Or cared instead as the iron image of the god
Came castering on lumpen wooden wheels
Centered amongst a procession of priests and musicians
Across the main thoroughfare resplendent
Thus deeply they wondered at his bearing
Surmised what noble man was selected
To don the sheepskin robe and place
The triple crown of bullhorns aloft
On his propitious brow; see, he holds 
The rod and the reel, the measuring line
Of the Architect and Master Builder,
First of this world, and then of Ur
The First City, whose harnessed populace
Dreams of what at that summit shall transpire
When the god himself shall slow descend
From Heaven, born of light and slipping as a star
One silver drop of divine emanation
Falling into union with the surface of the Earth
Sacred Heaven and Sacred Earth joined
In the embrace of divine human forms
So an erect King and suppliant Queen
Shall contort, inspired, on the golden bed


M. A. Sebrée said...

Nicely done. It's rather as if E. E. Cummings was channeling Robert E. Howard. A nice command of rhythm and cadence, a good vocabulary, and he moves the caesura to keep the sound of the line interesting. And the imagery is striking.

Carter Kaplan said...


I see some slight adjustments I need to make, but I like it. I think it (and more passages like it) will fit into a Sumerian closet drama I am planning...

Poems about Mesopotamian gods, demons, kings, priests and priestesses... Hmmm. One wonders what might be "teased out."