A good friend of mine and fellow librarian, Colleen Harris, also happens to be an excellent poetess. Not only is she a great writer, but she has also been published - A LOT! Up to this point it has been mostly journals and anthologies, but her first book of prose and poetry will hit the presses very soon. Bellowing Ark Press already has God in my Throat available for pre-purchase on their website.
Ms. Harris always writes with a truly evocative and, at times, musical tone that draws you in and makes you forget that you are reading poetry. The truth and wisdom unveiled in this work belies her age and makes you wonder what fount she has tapped into.
In reading a sample page this morning titled "Lessons for my Daughters", this line struck me as especially beautiful. "Be mournful to create shades of meaning. To create is a joy, and godlike." What is so meaningful to me is that Colleen has written a new chapter in the version of the Lilith mythos first put forth in an anonymous medieval text attributed to Ben Sira, author of Ecclesiasticus, and titled "The Alphabet of Ben-Sira". Ben Sira relates that God made Lilith first:
Adam and Lilith immediately began to fight. She said, 'I will not lie below,' and he said, 'I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one.' Lilith responded, 'We are equal to each other inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.'
References to Adam having a wife before Eve are also made in "Bereshit Rabba" a classical period midrash, or interpretative study, of the Torah.
The story of Lilith as one of the oldest night demons in Mesopotamian mythology is time honored. Some version of a female demon of the air with a 'Lilit' root name, sexually preying on sleeping men, and killing infants existed in the ethos of ancient Mesopotamia and numerous versions of her story ran throughout the Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian, and Babylonian Empires for millennia. Of course the Hebrews would have assimilated and integrated her attributes into their developing religions as a result of their captivities throughout these empires. In fact, even in some modern Jewish traditions, amulets with the names of three specific angels engraved on them are still hung in maternity rooms or around the necks of mothers and their newborn children to protect them from Lilith.
In some contemporary views, Lilith has been reinterpreted as being originally a Mesopotamian mother goddess of childbirth, children, women, and sexuality who later became demonized due to the rise of patriarchy. Feminists and liberationists have taken Lilith as the first of their movement, the first woman, created before Eve, whose strength of character allowed her to stand up to her husband Adam and refuse to take the submissive role. For this it is believed she was portrayed as a demoness.
It seems a likely theory and one that I hope is true. Regardless of Lilith's true origin, Colleen Harris has taken the most positive aspects of Lilith and channeled them into a well written instructional and inspirational lesson from the very First Ex-wife to Eve. Lilith has reclaimed her status as woman and those energies come through in "God in my Throat". Click on the image to the right and you will find a preview page(complete with the authors thumb on the galley). :)
Hail Lilith - fierce protector of women and children, wrongly accused by petty men. Buy the book. You won't regret it.