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Updated: Nov 2

The unconsecrated foe entered my courts,

Placed his unwashed hands upon me,

And caused me to tremble.

Putting forth his hand

He smote me with fear.

He tore away my robe.

And clothed his wife therein.

He stripped off my jewels.

And placed them upon his daughter.

Like a quivering dove upon a beam, I sat.

Like a fleeing bird from my cranny

Swiftly I passed

From my temple

Like a bird

They caused me to fly.

Roetzheim, W. H. (2014). The giant book of poetry. Jamul, CA: Level 4 Press.

Background Information

A Babylonian cuneiform is a writing format invented close to 33000 BC, Mesopotamia, today Syria to Turkey through some parts of Iran. Inscribed on clay tablets, It was a technological invention of their time which includes the use of geometric tokens for counting and cylinder seals to guarantee transactions. The poem was translated from a Babylonian cuneiform by Lewis Spence, a Scottish writer, folklorist and journalist.

Ishtar is a mythological god, called the queen of heaven by the people of Mesopotamia, a female deity in their pantheon. To her followers, she is a multifaceted god; god of love, god of sexuality and fertility, goddess of war, morning and evening star. Back then, many temples were built for mythological goddesses of the time, a popular temple constructed around 575CE by the King Nebuchadnezzar II, was the “Ishtar Gate”.

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Unfortunately, there is no background information on the poem's author. Written sometime possibly by 4,000 BC, the poem was translated by Lewis Spence, a Scottish writer, folklorist and journalist. In my opinion, it could be surmised that the author was recanting mythical Ishtar's transfiguration into a different form (bird) to continue a different journey.

To learn more about the goddess Ishtar you can hit the link below:


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