Skip to main content


Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 11 page 13

.../

Next thing you know, we have the goddess bawling her eyes out for her lover again. We have her shedding tears across the whole world, or that part of the world that counted. The following excerpt comes from Echlin’s translation of “Inanna’s Lament for Dumuzi.” Place names such as Bad-tibira usually have meaning as the location of temples to Inanna and/or Dumuzi. The rhythmic repetitions, characteristic of many of the poems, are a good indication that the verses were meant to be sung and accompanied by instruments. Try to read them patiently through, to see what sort of resonances you feel:

I sing
the lament for you
the lament for you
the lament

I sing
the lament for you
the lament for you
the lament

In the birthplace
I sing
the lament for you
the lament

In the desert, Dumuzi,
I sing
the lament for you
the lament

In Arali
I sing
the lament for you
the lament

In Du-šuba
I sing
the lament for you
the lament

In Bad-tibira
I sing
the lament for you
the lament

In the shepherding country
I sing
the lament for you
the lament

Personally I felt that the repetitiveness admirably drew me away from my unending 21st-century quest for productivity and reminded me how simple language can touch the heart. I imagined this lament sung solo, then I re-read it imagining an overlapping choral arrangement.

<CONT...>