Lilith and Adam Redux

Lilith and Adam Redux *

 

Barbara Hantman, Whitestone, N.Y

 

 

After irritation of dogged male nomenclature tendency

          whereby all animals had to be dutifully dubbed,

After strife over above-under position symbolism leading

          to nights of sleepless struggle with shroud-like sheets

                    in disarray,

Lilith of charcoal eyes and double lashes -- raven tresses flying

          in desert khamsin --   

Retreated to succor of Red Sea coral, susurrating sand,

          womb-cradling waves, siren-sustaining boulders.  

There she dwelled as nymph to every Levantine sailor seeking

          a Semitic Andromeda

With mermaid wiles used to captivate her Poseidon protector-

           oppressors.

 

A generation passed.

Liliths menses no longer meshed with moons mellow cycle

          and tumultous tides.

Streaks of gray nestled between her ebony locks.

Watching over or snatching young children was no longer

          an impish game of good fairy-bad fairy power politics –

It was a poor substitute for Adams by now hoary mien,

Strong as Egyptian cobras hirsute arms,

Bronzed, muscular Euphrates-fording, Eden-exiting legs.

 

Meanwhile, Eve-Chava had long since outlived her serpent-

          apple-tree-temptation, fig leaf-frolicking days.

Breast feeding, weaving of swaddling cloths, mashing of

          pomegranate kernels to swab on emerging teeth, 

                    roasting of apples for first solid food sauce of

                              delight:

These mothering activities, chores of ecstasy, were her sole

          concerns after birthing of Cain and Abel --

As Adam languished, losing himself in barley field, at olive

          press, atop date palms.

Then, a calamity!

Grown farmer Cain extinguished his shepherd brother Abel.

Eve-Chava once again spoke to Adam, mate of her youth:

A ziggurat must be constructed to help Abels soul reach

          heavenly heights of God the Father.

New fields must be cleared for Cains rehabilitation,

With a high place altar for blessing of forgiveness

          from Astarte, Great Mother of Fertility.

 

 

On her deathbed, Eve-Chava, ever the matriarch,

Whispered only the names of her tragic fratricidal son Cain

          and his animal caretaker victim Abel.

She never found the tender wherewithal to add a wistful

          two-syllable litany for Adam –

Her fellow Lords wrath-invoking outcast from Eden.

 

Lilith saw Adams daylight labor and starlight solitude.

She flew from the Red Sea to the breadbasket Adams industry

          had created beyond the Tigris and Euphrates.

Her henna cheeks and dusky femininity glowed with anticipation

          of love to be shared in later years –

When wisdom is greater, and blood bubbles in a gentle

          crucible that knows neither conquest nor subjugation.

Adam and his chastened enchantress Lilith clasped each other

          with gratitude in the tent beside the threshing floor.

Her wounded soul was balm for Cain when he heard his

          brothers blood cry out from the earth.

Archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel rejoiced

          in a healing circle

As the patchwork First Family of Mankind forged onward,

Anticipating the divergent roles of David, Bathsheba and

          Abishag.

 

 

* Inspired by Genesis II, III and IV, I Kings I, 1-4 and Lilly

Rivlins essay LILITH.

 

** Lilith – In Hebrew folklore, the first wife of Adam, believed

to have been in existence before the creation of Eve. In ancient

Semitic legend, an evil female spirit, or demon alleged to haunt

lonely, deserted places and attack children. (American Heritage

Dictionary)

 

 

 

                          

 

Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary Journal Winter 2011 Volume 8 Number 2

ISSN 1209-9392

2011 Women in Judaism, Inc.

 

All material in the journal is subject to copyright; copyright is held by the journal except where otherwise indicated. There is to be no reproduction or distribution of contents by any means without prior permission. Contents do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors.

 



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