Posted in Poetry

In the temple of Ishtar

The Babylonian Marriage Market by Edwin Long, 1875

There she stands like a nameless flower

Alone, away from a heap of roses in the garden

of the temple of Ishtar, Goddess of love in armor

and looks not with pride seen but with pain unseen


Days have left, Years have passed;

But the girl still roams around the temple

Alone, apart from the beauty selected

And consummated to a sacred couple.


Alas, what is it not the thing called Pity

When the wallflower unwanted, unsought

Alone, as always, waits a cruel eternity

Till she meets a beholder besotted sought?


P.S. Ishtar is the Mesopotamian goddess of love, war, and fertility. It is said that in ancient Babylonia, every young female when reaching a certain age should go to the temple of Ishta and wait for a man who will approach and take her as a wife to home. The temple was used as an open market for marriage, which was considered a sacred means of attaining divine union between mortals in the presence of the goddess. However, as the unfortunate ones in love have always been the figures of lamentation throughout human civilization, the shy, unpopular girls had to wait in the temple for years to be selected. This poem is to feel the feeling of being unwanted and ignored in the meritocracy of beauty…