Never one to scare easily, I have always sought out those things which normal people seem to eschew out of fear, whether rationally or irrationally. From my first encounters with Grimm’s Fairy Tales to that first nightmare about bees that sent me running to mother’s bed, not out of fear, but to warn her, I’ve enjoyed fear.
This quality later manifested itself in cross-country hitchhiking and rock climbing, to the modern, middle-aged-man equivalents of eagerly driving to the corner store in a driving blizzard just to get some milk and PBR, or admitting that I am pro-life and Republican in 2016 just to get a reaction. Fear is one of those experiences that always makes me feel more alive.
There is, however, one thing that has always scared me more than my logical mind can rationalize. One thing exists that can freeze me in my tracks just by thinking about it; one experience haunts me when I sleep, and when awake: a simple poem.
The poem in question, The Seven, is of Akkadian origin, dating back to at least 2000 B.C., perhaps discovered on shards of pottery. Scribed in the Semitic language of the Akkad, whose origins are from a capital city that gave its name to the ancient kingdom, legendarily founded by Sargon in Mesopotamia, The Seven has been described as “a haunting exorcism… calling on the seven great dark planetary demons.” Akkad’s exact location is unknown, but most likely lies deep beneath the rubble and terror currently smothering Syria.
For those who think that the terrors gripping the Middle East are a modern contrivance to be laid at the feet of Bush, or Obama, or ISIS or anyone whose name we can remember, I offer you this poem as proof that fears, rational and irrational, have gripped this region since man’s feet first turned from clay to trod upon clay.
So, those scary things under your bed, or on the movie screen, forget about them, they are nothing. The Seven, whomever they may be, still roam the Earth, detest the Heavens, and rule in Hell. They have forever been, and will forever be…
In the terrible depths they are 7
Bow down, in the sky they are 7
In the terrible depths, the dark horses
They swell, they grow tall
They are neither female nor male
They are a silence heavy with seastorms
They bear off no women their loins are empty of children
They are strangers to pity, compassion is far from them
They are deaf to men’s prayers, entreaties can’t reach them
They are horses that grow to great size that feed on mountains
They are the enemies of our friends
They feed on the gods
They tear up the highways they spread out over the roads
They are the faces of evil they are the faces of evil
They are 7 they are 7 they are 7 times 7
In the name of heaven let them be torn from our sight
In the name of the earth let them be torn from our sight