Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Enheduanna by by Elizabeth Oakes Ph.D.

first woman of the word, first person,
male or female, whose poetry survives

from 5,000 years ago, from ancient
Sumeria, you speak to us in thunder

daughter of a king, priestess of the moon
goddess Inanna, you wrote in cuneiform,
on clay: chants, incantations, dirges,
prayers, curses, threats, seductions

you, our mother, O strange one,
you, with your tiger energy,
you would not recognize
your milk-sop daughters

your strange beauty would eclipse
ours – your darkness, your hawk
nose, your leopard eyes

you would tell us the moon is powerful,
you would tell us we too are a goddess,
you would weave our names into your poems

mother of the heavens, shine on
us like the sun

we are your moons

we are the charms on your earrings,
your necklaces, your bracelets,
the jewels around your ankles

O Enheduanna, hand your treasure
down to us, your daughters

O earliest one of the word,
O mother found,
name us poets and priestesses 

-Elizabeth Oakes Ph.D., Vanderbilt University. Ms. Oakes is a retired professor of Shakespeare and American Women Poets. She is the winner of the 2004 Pearl Poetry Prize and author of 5 books of poetry. "Enheduanna" originally appeared in Matrix of the Mothers.

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