Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Genesis XXVIII

The sections are flowing out -- must have things I'm trying to avoid doing... Only 13 sections left until I'm finished with the Genesis!


Then, as I have heard, the lord of the Elamites, a wise leader
of men, Chodorlaomer, ordered his army and with him
marched in aid, Amraphel of Shinar, broadly across the world.*
Then they departed, four kings with great power, seeking
thence from the south Sodom and Gomorrah. Then was
the land by the Jordan widely covered over with the war-host,
the earth with enemies. Many a white-cheeked lady
must go trembling and terrified into a foreign embrace.
The defenders of bride and bracelet fell, sick with wounds.
Then against them with war-wrack went five folk-kings
in armies to the south—they wished to defend the city of Sodom
from wrath. Then for twelve winters after they must by need
render tribute to the north-men and give them payment,
until those people no longer wished to prop up the King of Elam
with their tribal treasures, but instead they rebelled against the bold. (1960-81)

They traveled together then, their javelins were loud,
the slaughter-army angry. The black bird sang
under the spear shafts, dewy-feathered, intent upon corpses.
The warriors went quickly into strong bands, mighty in courage,
until the broad armies had come together from the south and north,
covered by helmets. There was a hard play, an exchange of deadly darts,
a great clash of warriors. The warriors drew their ring-studded swords,
handily from their scabbards, doughty with blades. There was easily
found earl’s bargain in battle, if he were not already sated with its malice.*
The north-men were an obstacle to the southern folk.*
The men of Sodom and Gomorrah, gold-givers, were deprived
of their dear war-comrades in the crush of shields. (1982-99a)

They departed from their home, saving their lives in flight,
the slayers with swords, the children of nobles fallen in their track,
destroyed with blades, their dear companions. The chief
of the Elamite army had the war-victory, wielding the slaughter-field.
The survivors of weapons left, seeking safety. Their enemies
plundered their gold, spoiling then that rich city of men
with their army, Sodom and Gomorrah, when the hall was given up,
the famous city. The womenfolk were stolen, the wives and widows,
taken away by their foes, from their sheltered seats. The haters
led out the kinsman of Abraham with his aught from the city of Sodom.
We can further speak the truth of the fate of the army-wolves
who, after that battle, led away Lot and his people’s goods,
the southrons' treasures, boasting of his victory. (1999b-2017)

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