Black Song of Gilgamesh II

by Aidan Andrew Dun

zigg of UR recontruct

In poor back-alleys
mudbrick zones
vast-walled Uruk’s
fathers mutter:
‘In the rains you work
our sons to death
in chain-gangs
force their labour;
ravage the virginities
of our daughters
by rights of the hegemon.

‘Our wives resort to
to fend themselves
from an overlord’s
superfluous desires:
Gilgamesh who confiscates
farmsteads of countrymen
when girl-children resist
his despotic nuptials
mockeries of marriage-rite
forgotten in a fortnight.

‘Drunk he disembowelled
a poor brickmaker, men say
to warm his feet in winter!
His humble bondspeople
would deem such crimes
unbelievable, impossible;
but malignant talk
blows everywhere
like wind from the desert
at the top of the world
out towards Simurrum.

‘A countercharm is called-
for to tame this animal.
Let us summon shamans
sick, outcast, use spells
to recruit the great harlot
Shamhat of the temple-whores;
commission the seductress
to swamplands of Larak
where north-trappers
swear a green man
ranges the Taurus.

‘We cry a spring-torrent
across the flood-plains
thanks to Gilgamesh
our handsome Lord:
headstrong autocrat
heiromonarch of lust.
A scorpion must sting
the royal testes
to hobble this prancing
red-eyed bull of the sun:
bring terrifying Enkidu!

gil african silhouette