Tuesday, March 18, 2014

One thing about Mot

I had a mind to write something about Lancelot, grown restless in death, but instead I came up with a poem about one of the more dour gods of Babylonia. It’s an odd process, this writing business, at least for me:

Had you met me in my power
You would not have rejoiced.
God of the drought was I, of dry fields
Baking under uncaring suns
Mot I was called and Death
Was pleased enough to call me kin.
(Skeletons all look alike and who
To say we were not brothers?)
I had some priests – unpleasant men
Though my worshippers were worse
Praying that I would make fallow
The fields of others. (Many died; wheat,
For those with silos fill, sold high.)

After he killed great Tiamat, Marduk,
Who did not like the desert, came after me
Bellowing, waving his sword. Seven months I ran;
They built a shrine where he caught me.
What good to be a god when Marduk
Leaves you broken in the dust?
If year by year the sands creep towards the City
Do not curse Mot; the drought
Has found itself another god.
(Find, if you can, another Marduk).

          Mot turns up, so far as I know, only in stories about his being slain by Marduk or by Ba’al, though this may have happened more than once (some argue it was a yearly event; it probably wasn’t one Mot looked forward to with any eagerness). I’m still trying to figure out why he came when I was looking for Lancelot. Perhaps they room together in the afterworld.

I am oddly fond of Mot, who makes no pretenses about things. I have a story about him somewhere.

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