Jason (jcreed) wrote,

I read a couple of versions of "Gilgamesh" and was surprised at how positively unepically short it is. Still pretty entertaining. Derek Hines' modern verse interpretation of it, I enjoyed. Things like the beginning

Here is Gilgamesh, king of Uruk:
two-thirds divine, a mummy's boy,
zeppelin ego, cock like a trip-hammer,
and solid chrome, no-prisoners arrogance.

Pulls women like beer rings.
Grunts when puzzled.
A bully. A jock. Perfecto. By in love? —
a moon-calf, and worse, thoughtful.

and the scene where Shamhat seduces Enkidu away from his wilderness is good but too long to quote suitably, and the bit just before Enkidu wrestles Gilgamesh has:

Talk dries in the cafés,
as when the soldiers of an occupation
enter a restaurant, and a coded silence
becomes speech. Where silence is language,
meaning is everywhere.

and all the musing on mortality is really quite good and tragic in both the Hines and the mundane "Penguin Classics" prose translation by Sandars.

Tags: books, comics

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