I Am a Mute Iraqi With a Voice

by Weam Namou

I Am a Mute Iraqi With a Voice FRONT1

I studied poetry through the University of New Orleans summer program in Prague. Over the years I wrote over a hundred poems, many which were published in various national and international publications. This year, 90 of these poems will be published in my first poetry book, I Am a Mute Iraqi with a Voice. The book will be released later this month.

I dedicated this book to my ancestors, particularly Enheduanna, the world’s first recorded writer. She was the daughter of the great Mesopotamian king Sargon of Akkad and the high priestess of the temple of Nanna, the Akkadian moon god, in the center of her father’s empire, the city state of Ur. She had a considerable political and religious role in Ur. She wrote during the rise of the agricultural civilization when gathering territory and wealth, warfare, and patriarchy were making their marks. She offers a first-person perspective on the last times women in western society held religious and civil power. After her father’s death, the new ruler of Ur removed her from her position as high priestess. She turned to the goddess Inanna to regain her position, through a poem that mentions her carrying the ritual basket:

“It was in your service that I first entered the holy temple,
I, Enheduanna, the highest priestess. I carried the ritual basket,
I chanted your praise.
Now I have been cast out to the place of lepers.
Day comes and the brightness is hidden around me.
Shadows cover the light, drape it in sandstorms.
My beautiful mouth knows only confusion.
Even my sex is dust.”