Lilith’s Mantle

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We reject the second mother
you would give us,
reject subjugation
of ripped rib bone,
accept not the pain
from seeking knowledge.

We have borne brutality for the ages,
Silent always,
In churches,
In governments,
In streets,
And in our homes.
Our mouths learned silence,
keeping us, at least, alive.

Oh, we were worthy of protection
As long as we were your possessions:
Your mothers, your daughters,
Your sisters, your wives.
As long as you owned us
And we did as we were told,
We lived, perhaps, unbruised.

But the brave have shown us
Through the ages and now again
They show us another way.
We find our voice,
Too strident for your ears,
But even our whispers
Are too strident for you.

You will mock us,
Vilify us, this we know.
Proudly we wear the mantle
Of the first mother,
Lilith, the one you deemed
An enemy long ago and banished.
Her spirit moves us to speak
Against the men who take
Even our bodies from us.
You may beat us, kill us,
Force us into marriage and childbearing,
Rape us, place weapons into the hands
Of the children we bear,
Weld the chains of slavery upon us,
And laughingly say we asked for it
Should we complain.

Yet after all that and more,
Our submission you will not have.
We will rise like an ocean wave
Wakened by a great quake
Beneath the sea and drown you
With the devastation of your hate.

Soon some of Lilith’s daughters
Will march. Some will wait across
The Earth.

But Lilith’s mantle
Covers us all.
The quake is coming.
The wave will free us all.

The Brave Ones

(A Tribute to Christine Blasey Ford)

We reject the mother
Born to subservience
of ripped rib bone.
No longer will we accept
Bloody beatings and brutality,
Rape and rage,
Silent,
Powerless,
Fearful.
No longer do we accept this pain
As payment for the sin
Of seeking knowledge.

For millennia, we were lucky to live unbruised
As long as we were your possessions:
Your mothers, your daughters,
Your sisters, your wives.
As long as you owned us
And we did as we were told.

But through the ages,
The brave ones have shown us another way:
To seek the spirit of our true mother,
The one born in the same earth of equality.

So we find her voice and our own.
We speak.
Though you would silence us
With vitriol and mockery,
The brave ones have taught us well;
We will never be silent again.

Definitions of Us

Mother, widow,
Writer, teacher, friend
Titles I wear
That others use
To make a definition
Of me.

But I am more
Than any definition
Clown and comedienne
Actress and writer
Sinner and saint
A bit of Medea and Medusa
Shaken and stirred
With a touch
Of Mother Theresa
And Margaret Mead
And an added dash
Of Lucille Ball
For good measure.

My Lady MacBeth stays
Securely Locked Away,
Crying for some Germ-X
For her hands.
Wuornos, her cellmate,
Just doesn’t give a shit
And is it any wonder?

But I’ve no soft purr
With words
Like a Bishop or a Plath
Or a Browning,
But I could bake brownies
That might make you cry.

Yes, full of contradictions and complications
That’s what we women are
A bit of the Madonna
A bit of the Whore
A bit of the Wise One
And more
Too much and too little
To list
And define
Except by what we,
Ourselves, design