Monday, February 14, 2011

ancient lions I have known

The Lion ~ by Gwendolyn MacEwen

To love is to be remarkable, and flawless.
It is to wear the yellow crown of a flawless beast
Forever.

It is to inhabit the flawless and exceeding universe
Forever.

It is to summon the wonderful numbers
Which add up to the mighty stars.
It is learning to divide and multiply by these numbers.

I swear by all the famous, ancient lions I have known
That the mighty children yet to come
Will foster finer stars.

For they are the true lords, born of morning,
Whose coming will call us down
Like a deck of cards.

To love is to be remarkable, and flawless.
It is to wear the yellow crowns
Of all the gods.
Lion bas-relief on the Ishtar Gate, Babylon. In the 1920s-30s, Ishtar's Gate was excavated in Iraq then taken (stolen) in pieces by the archaeologists and reconstructed in Germany. Most of Ishtar's Gate glorifies the Pergamon Museum in Berlin (the largest part is, however, in storage), with parts of the gate and lions in museums all over the world, including the ROM in Toronto. And what's in Iraq? A fake gate.
A piece of the Processional Way of the Ishtar Gate at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. I took this photo last summer when I visited the ROM. I was stunned when I came upon the lion bas-relief. At first I thought it was a fake, a replica. I stood in front of the lion for quite some time, shocked as I realized it was authentic. I felt distress. How is it that a piece of Ishtar's Gate is in Toronto and in Iraq there is only a fake? Of what injustice am I hailed into?

3 comments:

Black Pete said...

Of an old injustice. May you be part of the generation that begins the righting of it.

northshorewoman said...

yes BP, hopefully we can all work to right the wrongs of the past. i do my small share by writing about this and hopefully some of my readers will think about these injustices, too.

Merche Pallarés said...

My heart pains for Iraq... What that country has suffered and is suffering! Hugs, M.