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Eros Inanna

A poetic treatment of one of the oldest epic myths


One of the oldest of the epic myths of the ancient world tells the story of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna, and her strange, deadly  journey down to the Underworld Kur, ruled by her older sister Ereshkigal. This tale has survived through the millennia, told and retold in many languages, but no one has ever known exactly why the Daughter of the Moon undertook this dangerous journey. Her descent into Kur resulted in Her death at the judgement of her jealous sister-god, and subsequent resurrection by two mysterious Galla Demons summoned from the Underworld at the command of Enki, Lord of Ea. Beseeched by Innana's servant Nincubara, Enki sent the two Ugalla, Kur Jara and Gala Tura on a hopeless mission to retrieve Inanna from hell. The following poem recounts the tale from the perspective of the Hellenic Period. The Goddess Aphrodite is considered by many to be Inanna, re-imagined by the Greeks. They are both the Goddess of love in their respective cultures. Desire (Sapphic Tales - Part One), the story from which this poem is excerpted attempts to resolve the age old mystery, speculating on the truth behind the myth - the real reason Inanna descended to the underworld.


Eros Inanna

By Bethany Frasier (via Calliope) From Sapphic Tales, the Inanna cycle


The song of love has echoed long

A chorus through the ages

And bards have offered words enough

To fill a million pages


From harlots' moans to poets' rhymes

The chorus has been lifted

And ever have the gods allowed

Desire to be gifted


Oh fairest femme in all ideals

Art thou the single thought

That fills the endless yearnings

Our desire has ever sought


For beauty did the gods bestow

The daughters they endowed

With tempting form and faces fair

That they would carry proud


But Eros is the fevered love

Which cannot be restrained

By mortal hand or human heart

It will not be contained


For though the gift the gods have sent

Is precious beyond measure

They proffer too a guiding hand

With such a baneful treasure


Personified in spirit form

Both beautiful and mighty

Inanna they have given forth

And also Aphrodite


Though some may say these haughty femmes

Are one and all the same

Their tales are told in different times

Of how they both became


Though Aphrodite rose in foam

From 'neath the coastal sea

Her sister roamed the Sumer steppes

'Fore Cyprus came to be


Daughter of the moon they claim

And sister to the Sun

Inanna played at love intense

A battle to be won


Her beauty fierce, an iron will

That would not be forsaken

She dared descend the underworld

But her life was cruelly taken


Her sister-god declared her false

Erishkigala cried

That fair Inanna came to steal

Her throne in endless pride


No mercy from the underworld

Would stay her final doom

Her life immortal ended then

As Kur became her tomb


Inanna lay alone in death

For days they counted three

But two would follow through the gates

Of hell to set her free


Ugalla were the demons called

That Enki brought to life

Gala Tura and Kur Jara

Together faced the strife


Through seven gates did they descend

In secrecy and peril

Regathering her lapis jewels

And all her fine apparel


Into the depths of hell they brought

Her periapts of power

To face the fell Ereshkigal

In aspect cold and dour


For though her doom was cruelly cast

Inanna lay in state

Awaiting yet another turn

In her untimely fate


To endless drums of requiem

Her acolytes did grieve

But knew that their Inanna fair

From death would they retrieve


Upon her throne Ereshkigal

The Galla did beseech

With soothing tone and sympathy

Her soul they sought to reach


And in her pride and arrogance

Ereshkigala fell

To hollow praise and flattery

Her vanity did swell


She offered them abundant gifts

Of grain and water too

But more than grain would she endow

The Galla demons knew


For on the wall Inanna hung

Upon a hook impaled

And though they feared the queen's reply

Her mercy had prevailed


Inanna's corpse though deathly cold

Was given to their care

They warmed her with their soft caress

And spoke a holy prayer


The Daughter of the Moon awoke

To breathe the breath of love

And with her shone a rim of light

The new moon far above


For to the sky do lovers look

To build into a fire

The spark of passion kindled by

The Goddess of Desire


Bethany Ariel Frasier - (c) 2017


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