From Gilgamesh Book 1 translated by Stephen Mitchell

Surpassing all kings, powerful and tall...

Surpassing all kings, powerful and tall

beyond all others, violent, splendid,

a wild bull of a man, unvanquished leader,

hero in the front lines, beloved by his soldiers -

fortress they called him, protector of the people ,

raging flood that destroys all defences -

two-thirds divine and one-third human,

son of King Lugalbanda, who became

a god, and of the goddess Ninsun,

he opened the mountain passes, dug wells

on the slopes, crossed the vast ocean, sailed

to the rising sun, journeyed to the edge

of the world, in search of eternal life,

and once he found Utnapishtim - the man

who survived the Great Flood and was made immortal -

he brought back the ancient, forgotten rites,

restoring the temples that the Flood had destroyed,

renewing the statutes and sacraments

for the welfare of the people and the sacred land.

Who is like Gilgamesh? What other king

has inspired such awe? Who else can say,

"I alone rule, supreme among mankind"?

The goddess Aruru, mother of creation,

had designed his body, had made him the strongest

of men - huge, handsome, radiant, perfect.

The city is his possession, he struts

through it, arrogant, his head raised high,

trampling its citizens like a wild bull.

He is king, he does whatever he wants,

takes the son from his father and crushes him,

takes the girl from her mother and uses her,

the warrior's daughter, the young man's bride,

he uses her, no one dares to oppose him.

But the people of Uruk cried out to heaven,

and their lamentation was heard, the gods

are not unfeeling, their hearts were touched.

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Hallaig by Sorley MacLean, translated by Seamus Heaney

Time, the deer, is in Hallaig Wood...

30, Nov, 2002 @12:05 AM

In the Dark Room by Salman Masalha, translated by Vivian Eden

In the dark room, you see things

you can't see in the lit room.

The alien light that comes from afar ...

16, May, 2008 @11:13 PM

From Book 1 of Paradise lost by John Milton

Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit

Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast

Brought Death into the World, and all our woe ...

by John Milton

18, Nov, 2006 @11:48 PM

The Toad and The Mouse by Seamus Heaney, translated from the Scots of Robert Henryson (c 1420-1490)

Upon a time, as Aesop makes report,

A little mouse came to a river-side ...

26, May, 2006 @11:50 PM

Ten Ways of Looking at PB Shelley by Hugo Claus, translated by JM Coetzee

His body washed up on the sands.
Lay there while the gold retreated
over the mountains...

04, Oct, 2003 @12:43 AM

Candle at a Wake by Elena Shvarts, translated by Sasha Dugdale

I love fire so

That I kiss it,

Reach out towards it ...

08, Mar, 2008 @12:05 AM

The Saturday poem: Poems (1933): XXX by Stephen Spender

In railway halls, on pavements near the traffic,
They beg, their eyes made big by empty staring ...

by Stephen Spender

15, May, 2009 @11:01 PM

Subject to Limitation by Stephen Romer

For years you were subjected

to a generous selection

of fragments for piano ...

by Stephen Romer

29, Mar, 2008 @12:29 AM

From Triodes by JH Prynne

Pandora wrote down her next sight
of the ossuary in cryptic notation...

10, Apr, 2004 @12:28 AM

The Saturday poem: The Preaching of the Swallow by Robert Henryson, translated by Seamus Heaney

Summer comes in his garment green and cheerful,
Every hem and pleating flounced with flowers,

Robert Henryson, translated by Seamus Heaney

29, May, 2009 @11:01 PM