Reading Gilgamesh on the Day 500,000 Protesters Marched Against George W. Bush and Lockheed Martin's War on Iraq

Go to the Cyclops, to their metalworks, to buy your armaments—
they with concentric ringwork branded into their foreheads;
they who worship the sun for the fire it gives their forges.
Go to the Chairmen, in worsted wool, to buy your armaments.

They are peerless perfectionists who eat billions before breakfast.
Let us lead, they say, your alloyed armies, defend and protect.
Let us save your new economies from a slaughter, they say.
They are nobodies who burn bodies, their single eye aghast.

Let storm-ridden heart wage war against storm-ridden heart, then peace.
My fame I shall secure, roared Gilgamesh, to all my sons.
My terror, perfect strength, shall secure me life, I will not die.
Let us now take battles to the enemy for our children's peace.

Go to the Cyclops, to their metalworks, to buy arms that burn concentric circles.
They are good men from the Midwest whose wives still cook them breakfast.
Let this great nation never be intimidated. We wage a war to save civilization.
Was it a god went through the camp just now, a dream that makes my skin creep?

Rose Marie Berger is associate editor (and poetry editor) of Sojourners. "Gilgamesh" translation by David Ferry.

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