Sumerian is the oldest language preserved in writing,
Its cuneiform tablets dating from about 3000 B.C.
We women of the village
scooped mud from the river bank,
patted it in our hands.
set out narrow tablets
to dry a bit in the sun.
We clipped reeds,
sliced them at angles,
pressed the tapered ends
on our tablets in patterns
that made our eyes smile.
Paired sticks flew points up,
other points shaved down,
aimed in different directions.
New shapes grew under our fingers.
what clusters of reed marks meant:
babies who died during plague,
men carrying spears to war,
brides dressed in borrowed jewels,
red grapes fat for harvest.
The men found our pressed marks,
took them for their own.
tallied numbers of sheep,
jars of olive oil in the storehouse,
who owed how many favors.
First came our scratches on clay
then others carved nicks on stone
or drew loops with berry juice
in pulp spread and dried.
We who pounded clothes
on rocks by the river
then stamped ourselves on the clay,
we are forgotten,
but we know who we are.
Weaving between the women at their daily tasks, a sculpture with cuniaform writing adds a new element to this dance performance
Nancy Beck of Inverness, CA attended weekly rehearsals in Alameda, CA, to be sure she would create the perfect set of sculptures for this performance. Three of her original works of art were an integral part of this dance presentation.
Nancy Beck, Sculptor, takes a bow after the presentation performance. Poet Patricia Wellingham-Jones was unable to attend due to a family emergency.