“The Wooing of Inanna” & More

Posted: June 26, 2014 in Articles
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Here are two poems I have read recently which I found very funny. The first one, “The Wooing of Inanna” is about a shepherd king named Dumuzi trying to get the goddess Inanna (also known as Ishtar) to marry him. Inanna’s response is below. As you can tell, she doesn’t fall for him. I think it’s funny that she prefers the farmer over the shepherd since the reason she gives for marrying the farmer is that he gives her the raw materials for her clothes and meals. But the shepherd would have also provided those raw materials from his sheep.

The Wooing of Inanna

The Shepherd! I will not marry the shepherd!
His clothes are coarse; his wool is rough.
I will marry the farmer.
The farmer grows flax for my clothes.
The farmer grows barley for my table.


The other poem, “Enki and Ninhusag” is a Sumerian tale of the lost paradise. Here is a small portion of it:

Enki and Ninhusag

The lion does not kill,
The wolf does not seize the lamb.
The wild dog, devourer of kids, is unknown.
He whose eyes hurt does not say, “My eyes hurt.”
He whose head aches does not say, “My head aches.”

What we find funny about this poem is that it doesn’t say that the man’s eyes won’t hurt or that it his head won’t ache, it just says that he won’t say so. We aren’t sure what kind of paradise that would be.

by John

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