Sumerian Love Song

by Mary Alexandra Agner

adapted from Samuel Noah Kramer's translation of BM24975

Prepare yourself!
Your lover is coming
from a far-away place,
from distant fields,
with alien strides
on alien roads.
He comes as a swallow
which never sets,
a dragonfly rising
over the water
and skimming the mist
over the water,
skimming the mountain-grass
floating on water.
He comes as an ibex,
traversing the mountains,
head into the head-winds,
courageous, head turned
to the winds, to the storm,
head turned by ill winds,
overwhelmed by the storm,
gale forcing his tears.
He comes, he is weeping.
He comes, his heart heavy.
He comes, his bones eaten
by wind and by flood.

Oh my love, I am ready.
I offer you richness,
herbs from the fields,
fruits from the fields,
the bitter-sweet beer.
I'm ready, my love.
I offer you figs
from the wide earth,
dates clustered on vines,
myself on the wide earth,
the fruits of my wide earth.
I offer you water,
the cleansed drinking cup.
I've poured out the water,
the earth has drunk deep.
Why do you wait
your eyes closed
your lips still?
I am ready. I offer my earth,
my wide self, my vines clustered,
my water poured out.
Your spirit has entered,
your spirit departs.
I am ready, fields clustered
and rich and fermented,
prepared for my days
of bitter-sweet beer.

Mary Alexandra Agner is the author of The Doors of the Body (Mayapple Press). She was born in a United State made for lovers and makes her home outside Boston. She can be found online at

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