Today's poem is by Nancy Kassell

To Scale
        The Art of Assyria from the British Museum
        Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2008

Protective spirits in profile are aligned on a frieze.
Ugallu, "Great Lion," would have been red. Rampant,
he is a biped like the other god and the human,
everyone the same height. Another displays a hunt:
captured lions, sacred to Ishtar, goddess of love,
fertility, and war, lie under the horses of the king's
chariot, awaiting death. Little evidence of love or
fertility. Expansive friezes lined palace rooms.
Water, fire, trees, reeds-all stylized, rendered as if
in shorthand. Long ago, Nabu bestowed miniscule
cuneiform wedges to be inscribed on squares or
cylinders of clay that fit in the palm of a human hand,
assumed worshippers' eyes are as sharp as his own.

Copyright © 2014 Nancy Kassell All rights reserved
from Text(isles)
Dos Madres Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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