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“Ode of Innocence”

A retelling of Enkidu's loss of innocence, from the epic “Gilgamesh.”
Reposted in poetry, thanks to a suggestion from staff.

***

They darted through the wilds,
like shadows,
foraging by day
near cool springs,
gathering with their brothers
at night,
to sleep among them under the trees.

***

The gazelle cried out in pain
as the trap cut deep into its leg.
A friend of animals,
who did not walk like them,
heard its cries
and ran to help.

He appeared to the gazelle
a creature of the woods,
the hair not unlike that of beasts,
the scent of nature upon him.

He approached
and the animal was not afraid.
His hands,
moving with dexterity
and strength,
wrenched open the trap
and set it free.

He bent down
to lick its cuts,
not minding the blood on his tongue.
Its leg cleansed,
they raced through the thicket
without direction or purpose,
as if the future were but a curse
which passes by nature like a thing ethereal.

Together they came to a pool
and drank,
pausing only to ensure safety.
He stood to look,
and saw a man
heading towards the waters.
At once they made
for their secret grove.
For man brought death.

As the sky dimmed,
they rested
in the comfort of the undergrowth.
He shared fruit from trees
only he could reach,
giving without restraint,
without greed,
as equals
among them.

***

A prostitute,
named Shamhat by men,
left the place
of the dead trees
and came into the wild,
the fragrance of civilization
staining her flesh.

She found him
with his animal friend.
It fled,
but he stayed
to come forward
and touch this curiosity.

The gazelle later returned
to see man and woman lying together.
The man reached out,
and it ran in fear,
for the stink of mankind immersed him.

The gazelle rejoined its brothers,
safe in the company of those
that sought only the freedom
to be wild.

***

The gazelle cried out in pain
as the trap cut deep into its leg.
A trapper came and gutted the animal,
intent on selling its hide
and its flesh
in the markets of man.

***

The people feasted
by night,
with ale and dance prevailing.
Shamhat served the men
the meat of today's kill,
Enkidu taking the first bite.

------
"I must create my own system, or be enslaved by another man's"-William Blake



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by Malthis





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