Birds of Babylon

“Thou didst love the brilliant Allalu bird
But thou didst smite him and break his wing;
He stands in the woods and cries “O my wing”.”

(Gilgamesh to Ishtar)


Since then, I hear them all.

The flutter of frightened wings in the trills of flute and zither.
(my own wings, though nonexistent, shiver in answer.)

Since then, I hear them all.

The thunder of Anzu’s wings, as he storms over, struggling under the weight of his stolen treasure, the Tablet of Destinies.

Allalu’s wordless songs of joy, entrancing, flowing through me as I dance.


Since then, I hear them all.

Anzu’s rebellious cries, a fiery staccato.
Hear me now, ye all, and undestand!
For I have read the Tablet, and I know these laws are unjust and cruel.
Help me now, ye all, to break it,
let us make our laws anew!

My own name, now whispered, now called out,
sweet-sounding in the voice of Allalu.
(– and I feel the Mother of my name stirring deep within me.)


Since then, I hear them all.

Allalu’s sweeping verses,
caressing words of promise and of love.
My dear, I’d fly away with you
my love I’ll fly away with you

The eerie chirping of the spirits of the Dead,
praising and cursing their Lady Ereshkigal
under the same breath
praising and cursing their Lord Nergal
under the same breath
praising and cursing Anzu, for whom they died
under the same breath.


Since then, I hear them all.

Siris’ wailing lament, endlessly calling,
Anzu, my son, my beloved,
who didst fly the highest!
Though hid behind the face of Marduk
’twas the cruel spirit of the law
to cast thee down
into the deepest of the deep.
Anzu my son, my beloved,
where art thou now?


Echoes of another story,
of a taste of blood on my lips,
of Allalu’s cries of pain, my own tears
mingling with his, my own doing;
in its place, now, only silence,
bitter honey and clouds to drink,
– and the Mother of my name
turns elswhere, sleeps again.


Fate’s mesmerizing song,
as its soft feathers cover my eyes again.


Since then, I hear them all.

Posted in Scripta, Stories in English and tagged .

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