Belânu and Iltani - Part 11

Since by the promise of Iltani
I have been crowned,
I am a king indeed.

The Four Quarters of the earth are mine,
The Four Quarters of the heaven are mine!
The mighty King who dwelleth delicately
In his palace beside E-Sagila,
In his house near the lofty House of Marduk
Walketh as in a sleep,
Dreaming that the Four Quarters are his;
But I, Belânu the poet,
I Belânu, Lord of Iltani,
Am King of Kings
Being King of Iltani!

Hands that have touched her hands
In the clasp of betrothal,
Ye too should become poets,
Ye too should sing a song,
Ye should make a promise also!
Speak, hands of Belânu!
By the magic of love,
In the name of Iltani,
I, your master, conjure you!
Thus say my hands:
" Beautiful deeds only will we do
Beautiful deeds only from henceforth forever
Will we perform,
We the hands of Belânu,
The happy hands that have touched Iltani's! "

But for you, O my mouth,
You that have touched the fire of the inner altar,
No words outworn by the mouths of others
Could tell fittingly
Of that wonder;
New words would you need, mouth of Belânu,
To sing that miracle;
Words fresher than the first flowers
Blooming in the first dawn
From an earth still virgin.
Silence only can sing of it,
Silence of the lover's heart,
More wonderful than the sound of a thousand dulcimers
In the hands of rejoicing gods;
Sweeter than the shrilling of Ishtar's heart-strings
When the breath of Tammuz her lover
Plays across them.

Answer me, O my beloved,
Whisper it to me across the dark blossom of night
My heart will hear.
Answer me this thing, O my beloved!
Was not the silence of my mouth upon yours
A song of songs?
The silence of your mouth beneath mine
Said more to me than all the poems ever uttered.

O flower of life,
Mouth of Iltani!
The venomous wild-bee, Death,
When he drinks your honey
Will forget to sting.
You will not know the sting of Death, beloved,
But on his wings you will be borne
To the land at the confluence of waters,
To the immortal, shining land,
At the meeting of rivers
Fairer than the river of Babylon
By which we met, —
The rivers of everlastingness!
Far from the dark Cave of Arala
Will the wild-bee Death soar with you
Having forgotten to sting!

What of the night, Iltani?
What of this night blossoming from our day of days
Whereon you sprang so wildly awake,
Beneath my kiss?
Will you sleep to-night?
Can you sleep, beloved,
Apart from me, tossed by the wonder of love,
Apart from me, tossing as on a sea of fire
With none to comfort you?
With none to hold in a strong hand
The tiller of your boat of dreams, —
To make fast the cord of the wild sail
Swelling with the wind of love?
With none to lay his other hand beneath your head,
Your tender head dizzy with sweet desire,
Bewildered by the tossing of those waves of flame
Will you sleep to-night, beloved?

I shall not sleep!
But my waking will be more delicious
Than any sleep,
Yea, though Ishtar herself descended with it
Crowned by stars of seven colours,
Bringing dreams of seven colours.
Not for the glory of Marduk, son of Ea,
Would I sleep this night, O my beloved!
For my dreaming might be empty of you,
But my waking will be filled with you,
As a lotus with fragrance,
As a lute with music,
As the sun with fire!
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