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Temple Hymn 7: an Excerpt

to the Kesh Temple of Ninhursag
by Enheduanna (circa 2285-2250 BCE)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

O, high-situated Kesh,
form-shifting summit,
inspiring fear like a venomous viper!

O, Lady of the Mountains,
Ninhursag’s house was constructed on a terrifying site!

O, Kesh, like holy Aratta: your womb dark and deep,
your walls high-towering and imposing!

O, great lion of the wildlands stalking the high plains! ...

NOTE: Ninhursag was the goddess of nature and animals, wild and tame. She was also the goddess of the womb and form-shaping. And she was the patron deity of Kesh. Enheduanna, the daughter of the famous King Saragon the Great of Akkad, is the first ancient writer whose name remains known today. She appears to be the first named poet in human history and the first known author of prayers and hymns. Enheduanna, who lived circa 2285-2250 BCE, is also one of the first women we know by name. She was the entu (high priestess) of the goddess Inanna (Ishtar/Astarte/Aphrodite) and the moon god Nanna (Sin) in the Sumerian city-state of Ur. Keywords/Tags: Enheduanna, translation, Akkad, Sumer, Ur, Sumerian temple hymns, Ninhursag, Kesh, Aratta
The Exaltation of Inanna: Opening Lines, an Excerpt

Nin-me-šara
by Enheduanna (circa 2285-2250 BCE)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lady of all divine powers,
Lady of the all-resplendent light,
Righteous Lady clothed in heavenly radiance,
Beloved Lady of An and Uraš,
Mistress of heaven with the holy diadem,
Who loves the beautiful headdress befitting the office of her high priestess,
Powerful Mistress who has seized all seven divine powers,
My lady, you are the guardian of the seven divine powers!
You have seized the divine powers,
You hold the divine powers in your hand,
You have gathered up the divine powers,
You have clasped the divine powers to your breast!
Like a dragon you have spewed venom on foreign lands that know you not!
When you roar like Iškur at the earth, nothing can withstand you!
Like a flood descending on alien lands, O Powerful One of heaven and earth, you will teach them to fear Inanna!

Enheduanna, the daughter of the famous King Saragon the Great of Akkad, is the first ancient writer whose name remains known today. She appears to be the first named poet in human history and the first known author of prayers and hymns. Enheduanna, who lived circa 2285-2250 BCE, is also one of the first women we know by name. She was the entu (high priestess) of the goddess Inanna (Ishtar/Astarte/Aphrodite) and the moon god Nanna (Sin) in the Sumerian city-state of Ur. Enheduanna's composition Nin-me-šara ("The Exaltation of Inanna") details her expulsion from Ur, located in southern Iraq, along with her prayerful request to the goddess for reinstatement. Enheduanna also composed 42 liturgical hymns addressed to temples across Sumer and Akkad. And she was the first editor of a poetry anthology, hymnal or songbook. Now known as the Sumerian Temple Hymns, this was the first collection of its kind; indeed, Enheduanna so claimed at the end of the final hymn: "My king, something has been created that no one had created before." And poems and songs are still being assembled today via the model she established over 4,000 years ago! Enheduanna may also have been the first feminist, as she made Inanna the supreme deity. Keywords/Tags: Enheduanna, translation, Akkad, Sumer, Nanna, Inanna, Ur, Sumerian temple hymns
Temple Hymn 15

to the Gishbanda Temple of Ningishzida
by Enheduanna (circa 2285-2250 BCE)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Most ancient and terrible shrine,
set deep in the mountain
like a mother's womb ...

Dark shrine,
like a mother's wounded breast,
blood-red and terrifying ...

Though approaching through a safe-seeming field,
our hair raises as we near you!

Gishbanda,
like a neck-stock,
like a fish net,
like a foot-shackled prisoner's manacles ...
your ramparts are massive,
like a trap!

But once we’re inside,
as the sun rises,
you yield widespread abundance!

Your prince
is the pure-handed priest of Inanna, heaven's holy one,
Lord Ningishzida!

Oh, see how his thick, lustrous hair
cascades down his back!

Oh Gishbanda,
he has built this beautiful temple to house your radiance!
He has placed his throne upon your dais!

Enheduanna, the daughter of the famous King Saragon the Great of Akkad, is the first ancient writer whose name remains known today. She appears to be the first named poet in human history and the first known author of prayers and hymns. Enheduanna, who lived circa 2285-2250 BCE, is also one of the first women we know by name. She was the entu (high priestess) of the goddess Inanna (Ishtar/Astarte/Aphrodite) and the moon god Nanna (Sin) in the Sumerian city-state of Ur. Enheduanna's composition Nin-me-šara ("The Exaltation of Inanna") details her expulsion from Ur, located in southern Iraq, along with her prayerful request to the goddess for reinstatement. Enheduanna also composed 42 liturgical hymns addressed to temples across Sumer and Akkad. And she was the first editor of a poetry anthology, hymnal or songbook. Now known as the Sumerian Temple Hymns, this was the first collection of its kind; indeed, Enheduanna so claimed at the end of the final hymn: "My king, something has been created that no one had created before." And poems and songs are still being assembled today via the model she established over 4,000 years ago! Enheduanna may also have been the first feminist, as she made Inanna the supreme deity. Keywords/Tags: Enheduanna, Gishbanda, Ningishzida, Inanna, translation, Akkad, Ur, Sumerian temple hymns, Sumer
Lament to the Spirit of War
by Enheduanna (circa 2285-2250 BCE)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You hack down everything you see, War God!

Rising on fearsome wings
you rush to destroy our land:
raging like thunderstorms,
howling like hurricanes,
screaming like tempests,
thundering, raging, ranting, drumming,
whiplashing whirlwinds!

Men falter at your approaching footsteps.

Tortured dirges scream on your lyre of despair.

Like a fiery Salamander you poison the land:
growling over the earth like thunder,
vegetation collapsing before you,
blood gushing down mountainsides.

Spirit of hatred, greed and vengeance!

******* of heaven and earth!

Your ferocious fire consumes our land.

Whipping your stallion
with furious commands,
you impose our fates.

You triumph over all human rites and prayers.

Who can explain your tirade,
why you carry on so?

Enheduanna, the daughter of the famous King Saragon the Great of Akkad, is the first ancient writer whose name remains known today. She appears to be the first named poet in human history and the first known author of prayers and hymns. Enheduanna, who lived circa 2285-2250 BCE, is also one of the first women we know by name. She was the entu (high priestess) of the goddess Inanna (Ishtar/Astarte/Aphrodite) and the moon god Nanna (Sin) in the Sumerian city-state of Ur. Enheduanna's composition Nin-me-šara ("The Exaltation of Inanna") details her expulsion from Ur, located in southern Iraq, along with her prayerful request to the goddess for reinstatement. Enheduanna also composed 42 liturgical hymns addressed to temples across Sumer and Akkad. And she was the first editor of a poetry anthology, hymnal or songbook. Now known as the Sumerian Temple Hymns, this was the first collection of its kind; indeed, Enheduanna so claimed at the end of the final hymn: "My king, something has been created that no one had created before." And poems and songs are still being assembled today via the model she established over 4,000 years ago! Enheduanna may also have been the first feminist, as she made Inanna the supreme deity. Keywords/Tags: Enheduanna, translation, Akkad, Sumer, Nanna, Inanna, Ur, Sumerian temple hymns
I Cannot Remember My Mother
by Rabindranath Tagore
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I cannot remember my mother,
yet sometimes in the middle of my playing
a melody seemed to hover over my playthings:
some forgotten tune she loved to sing
while rocking my cradle.

I cannot remember my mother,
yet sometimes on an early autumn morning
the smell of the shiuli flowers fills my room
as the scent of the temple’s morning service
wafts over me like my mother’s perfume.

I cannot remember my mother,
yet sometimes still, from my bedroom window,
when I lift my eyes to the heavens’ vast blue canopy
and sense on my face her serene gaze,
I feel her grace has encompassed the sky.

Keywords/Tags: Tagore, translation, Hindi, mother, cannot, remember, cradle, temple, sky, gaze, face, play, playing, playthings, toys, melody, song, tune, lullaby, singing, rocking, autumn, flowers, fragrance, odor, perfume, incense, blue, heaven, heavens
Gitanjali 11
by Rabindranath Tagore
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Leave this vain chanting and singing and counting of beads:
what Entity do you seek in this lonely dark temple with all the doors shut?
Open your eyes and see: God is not here!
He is out there, where the tiller tills the hard ground and the paver breaks stones.
He is with them in sun and shower; his garments are filthy with dust.
Shed your immaculate mantle and like him embrace the dust!
Deliverance? Where is this "deliverance" to be found
when our Master himself has joyfully embraced the bonds of creation; he is bound with us all forever!
Cease your meditations, abandon your petals and incense!
What is the harm if your clothes become stained rags?
Meet him in the toil and the sweat of his brow!

Keywords/Tags: Tagore, translation, Hindi, vain, worship, entity, God, temple, chanting, singing, counting, beads, petals, incense, meditations, tiller, paver, dust, rags, sweat, toil
Meghana Mar 12
A proud forest was cut down
To give way to a temple
None did mourn
As they built and assembled

Yet the face never came right
For no matter who shaped the main sight
No matter how much they tried
The idol never smiled

The huge temple was opened, shining bright
Bringing pilgrims from over the world, to this place
Yet the frowning idol did not generate light
And as the time passed, the temple was forgotten

The grass and creepers flourished
In this abandoned place, trees left seeds
The plants occupied the temple, now finally in bliss
The creepers and plants touched the idol's feet
And it finally smiled
Poetic T Feb 16
If the voice spoke to me,
                           I'd get my gun.
Put  it to my temple,
                   as this is the only one that I know Is real...

                                    and say...
Speak to me,
                    this is my temple,
and if nothing answered.


I knew to put a sky light
                              from where they came..


My temple is hollow and the voices
               were my insanity
colluding me to false promises




of virtue...
Star BG Feb 2
In the temple of my heart,
God sings.
Anointing and expanding
my human footsteps.

I dance hearing grand melodies.
I celebrate inside divine connection.

In the temple of my heart,
God echoes.
Gifting me in moment
to shine like sun.

I walk and angels follow.
I bow as gratitude is whispered.

In the temple of my soul
God has a home.
And I feel peace on Earth.
Inspired by chat with Stu Harley
Daniel Magner Jan 20
Fine rain falls onto the reflection pool,
tiny ripples bouncing off each other,
transient touch.
Mist hangs on the mountains,
shrouds peaks.
A bell tolled out,
reverberating purity,
find peace in obscurity.
Daniel Magner 2020
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