Gilgamesh at Enkidu’s Deathbed

A House of Dust, where food is dust and clay,
And feather-smothered spirits writhe in dirt,
Deprived of any single stroke of day.
And you, Enkidu …

A drooling demon seized you by the hair
And dragged you to the House of Dust, to serve
Those gods their bread and wine. It dragged you there,
Poor Enkidu.

You said you had that dream some days ago,
Entombed by pain within this rotting bed.
You’ve scarcely moved since then, but damn the crows!
Strong Enkidu!

That cedar wood ogre did not kill you,
Nor the Bull of Heaven stand against you.
The cosmos sought to strike you down, but still you
Fight, Enkidu.

Yet glory begets envy from the weak.
The spiteful gods decreed that you’re to die.
As if! You can’t. I will not let you. Speak!
Please, Enkidu.

Speak your thoughts now, tell me you won’t die.
Don’t abandon me to this boring world.
Pain has numbed your mouth and thoughts, but try.

If you die, the world will shake. All will weep.
The beasts and people all will drown in tears
And cry a grief to keep the gods from sleep,
Famous Enkidu.

But none will mourn like I, who held your hand
And with you laughed and smiled and spoke my mind
As, flaunting strength, we strode across the land.
Beloved Enkidu,

I don’t know what I’ll do. I cannot think
What life will offer me if there lurks death.
Temporary joy, rising just to sink?
I won’t join you, Enkidu.

If you go, I will make death itself fear me,
But even that means nothing to you now.
You are lost in the dark, and cannot hear me.
Goodbye, Enkidu.

[Max Vitelli is a student studying English Literature at the University of Sussex, and as an amateur poet inspired primarily by the works of William Blake, Robert Browning and H. P. Lovecraft, he enjoys writing dramatic-lyrical curiosities about things no one (including himself) can possibly relate to. He also likes videogames, cheap cider, and country music. You can find him on Twitter @MaxVitelli.]