Defense of Lilith…..a continuing poem

"Viriditas", wc, janekohut-bartels, 2000

“Viriditas”, wc, janekohut-bartels, 2007



From the beginning

You are defiled

By all who would

Call your name.

From Mesopotamia,

Between the two rivers

The Tigris and Euphrates,

Your two white breasts

That fed the soil between

The mountains and deserts–

You were demoness.

They gave you

The head of an owl

The feet of a bird,

But not just any bird,

But the malevolent Zu-bird

Eater of man-flesh–

A chaos maker.

In the Bible

You were Adam’s

First wife,

But he put you aside,

And you were deemed unclean.

In the Talmud

You fared little better,

Cast out into the desert,

Again a demon, a sorceress

Filthy,  to be shunned.

In Sumerian myths

You were a succubus

Sucking dry the seed of men,

Belaboring the birth pangs of women

Killing infants you caught unseen

From the birth canal.

Your breasts gave forth no milk

Nor your womb fruit

Your mouth gave off howls of obscenity

And your hair?

Serpent’s nests, foul.

Amulets and prayers were worn, exchanged,

Sacrifices made for your banishment.

Your name was whispered in curses and threats

By the insane,

And women were burned in your name

On bonfires of male and church vanity.

Enough, Lilith.

This madness will stop

Your worth and value has been weighted

Only by a part of humanity.

The rest of us know,

Embrace you,

Welcome you.

We are your inheritors

Without the deceit of mankind.

As you squat to the earth,

Your genitals revealed,

We know you strike fear

Into the faint hearts of men.

We know your beauty sullied,

Your power reached to the Sun

And your eyes reflect

The tides of the Moon.

You bear the hatred and fear of Men.

But We Women have opened our eyes


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014

How much of mythology is defined, written from a male perspective?

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6 Responses to “Defense of Lilith…..a continuing poem”

  1. Caliban's Sister Says:

    How much do I love this poem? Let me count the ways. –your Zu-bird friend.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Well, it seemed appropriate with a short (and much belabored study) of “The Second Sex”.

    After last week, and the creep at lunch, it occurred to me that ‘revisionist’ history on so much needed to be re-considered. So…..a little bit of that.

    Thanks, CS….’Funny, Zu-bird fits. LOL!

    love, Jane


  3. TR Says:

    Hi Jane,
    Love the poem and the question – well, much of history is written by men, they were the literate ones! Mythology and folklore are so interesting because so many stories were oral. I can imagine it was a way to control (in a kind way – guide) offspring as well. Women’s roles play into that – fear keeping them to control their daughters. What do you think? xx


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi TR! Thank you for reading and your insightful comment.

    Funny, the Berber women were the ones literate in the culture. They were the keepers of the poems, the poets, and developed their symbolic written language. So, Berber women broke the mold on this issue.

    A short reading of Grimm’s Fairy Tales says how literature was used ….as moral teachings (and other….) for children and adults. These were mostly oral tales, and we think of the Bards of the British the same way.

    And yes, fear was meant to keep control on children…especially daughters. I remember telling my son that he had to come in around 6pm, because of “Die Nacht”. When the sun started to fall, the wolves would come out of the woods, and he would run into the house, yelling “Die Nacht”, Die Nacht! LOL! Not a nice way to discipline a child, but it worked for a few years.



  5. TR Says:

    That is cool the women were literate! I read about how fairy tales are there to help guide and help children with dark emotions. I don’t think fairy tales are ‘bad’. I saw the play Dracula recently and I remembered how the tale may have started to keep young women away from charming, seductive men. In a way, it probably helped for survival of the species. Hugs, TR


  6. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Don’t think I ever thought about Dracula quite that way, but I think you are on to something!

    Fairy Tales, well I haven’t made any study of them really….but I think they were first morality tales….something to learn amongst those who were illiterate. Oral traditions are important to any culture.

    Yep….that was interesting fact about the Berber women. I don’t know when that was in work, but I would imagine that a lot has changed…especially because of the influence of Islam. Now? WEll, for centuries at least Berber Women were the keepers of the literate flame.

    Thanks, TR.

    Hugs, Jane


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