Monday, November 22, 2021

Requiem of the Lilith

Her flower was the lily, ominous

white, that spoke of pale stones left by moonlight,

when the toppled spades landed on the might

of what we call home, writing, venomous.

There was a churchyard, yet all was still now,

and by the darkness’s dread came Lilith fair;

they thought her but a witch and yet ensnared

by her enchantments, verse and rhyme they bow.

Her hair was fiery strawberry blond, to

the waxen marble floor. When by the fence

there came a herd of Jersey cows, and she

called them, and their bells jangling, they came through

the gate into the churchyard. The spire lent

its shadow to the falling light, and lea.


There was a glad flower, men in a bind—

if it were real or imagined; yet nigh,

it produced the most frightful velvet kythe,

hallucinations of another kind,

and no one knew their meaning until dreams

were interpreted by those of the art.

They woke from their starry beds with a start

and could not discern if their nightmares, cream

of another chocolate from the night’s fist.

The problem was that peasants were so tight

with their coins that they could not entertain

royalty. Yet Lilith summoned all, list

in royal procession, walking down bright

aisle with swaths of innocent gown and train.


The Lilith was a beauteous blond curl

that wrapped its way around her platinum

coronet, the head whose skull was mamon

and yet ivory. Her ash produced pearl,

yet only one drop, for the inner scent

of transcendence had wreathed her to the earth

her dying day, when on a pyre of mirth

she lay. The clothing of the trees was rent

to autumn’s scarlet mood, and bounteous

sepia scarves, in colours of the weave.

She wore Eve’s clothing yet, adorned in sun’s

gold rings that haloed her; now humorous

she glanced in the mirror of the lake’s eve

and knew the moments of the fairy’s pun.


There was a time in the beginning when

all earth had bowed to her regality,

her mind with Adam’s knew equality,

her mode had been his decent soul mate then.

Yet, when she would not marry him in moons

and acquiesced only to the wood’s haunt,

she fell short of all his desires, his wont

for a mother of children, that blue womb

submitted to the throne of his mindful

patriarchy, his husbandry, his care;

when she would not bear his children, her cool

black eyes flashed at him lightning’s silver foil…

the tresses of her head laid golden bare,

and with her mouth she kissed him as a fool.


Her power would be in her aloneness,

the desert of her hands without fruit ripe—

crimson from lime—her stateliness a gripe

she would take from the ancient gnarled fruitless

mossy tree, growing from the beginning

of the world to the end of time, purple

starless, casting shadows of its cripple

who embarrassed it too, leaving a line

of shame. She would leave, then, and make self stilled,

scarce amongst the rocks and grey caverns stone

of the desert. Her planet, colourless

was another space, where no being dwelled

save the remnants of Isaiah, alone

with his parchment scroll, rolled here effortless. 


There we would find her, quiet as the sand

under the moon, in a desert of owls

where only jackals hide. This was her fowl,

the birds of the air she called by name, and

they followed through skies of dusty Hades

in train, as if the light has held them there.

It was the end, she was the thief, and bare

his hand, he would, for his last card, of spades,

was dark Lilith. They feared her in the night

as was her way, with black claws and fearsome

beak. They pulled the shades, they held their children

close, yet they had called upon her midnight

with frightening incantations, winsome

wiles and treacherous prayers to euthendom.


Was there an end to this ghostly story?

The moons swirled, and rings of planets turned to

silver, yet there was only one thorough

woman dark, one—alone in her pouring

called a heaven of hell, was this necklace.

Diamonds of its setting glimmered power,

in the shallows of seas, fish like flowers

swam silver before the throne of clear glass:

he who sits at the bottom of the Great

River watched it all. He knew Lilith from

of old, and watched her hair meld with the gold

sunsets of men’s minds. Manicured estate

stretched to the wrought iron fence in green dun.

New York: this was the city of dreams run.


Emily Isaacson

Photo used by permission: Armstreet Clothing Company