counted on the beads
lit by heaven’s rays that shone
through the stained glass windows
painted by men
of a male-dominated Last Supper
prepared by women
for the Son and his male apostles
to glorify the Father, and his Son
who passed his power to Peter,
who charged his bishops,
and they told their priests, rabbis, and sheikhs
No, to women praying in the temple. No, to priesthood for women
No, to women coming out from behind veils
And especially no to Lilith
Who came crashing with a white heat
into the world
floating free from the will of mankind
Thus, was she banished to a dimension of lost space
Absent of hours and minutes fathoms deep
devoid of shadows – no sounds – no voices.
Eve’s daughters, we emerged from the rib of Adam
to the blood of birth
and were blessed by holy waters to remove
the stains of conception
and suckled the red-faced creatures
born of mankind.
Pawns of creation, we
created to propagate the species
Bodies molded from earth’s clay
Our feet solid on the soil
While truth-searching disciples traveled the roads
that took them to De Vinci’s secret codes
hidden amongst Rome’s incense smoke
that rose to the royal bloodline in France
and onwards to Africa
on journeys to find the lost tribes of Israel
then to the middle east to seek the secret of the apple
in Iraq’s, Garden of Paradise.
Sailed to the mysterious Far East, they did
to bow before they climbed the Wailing Wall
to do battle with the sons of Moses and Mohamed
-Hiked up the cliffs in France
and came to the secluded monasteries
to search for sacred texts.
And climbed higher yet through the snows of Kilimanjaro
to the highest peak, where they looked up to see
the dead leopard of mankind’s lofty aspirations.
Twisting with the Mekong,
they came upon Buddha, sublime, and positioned in full lotus
In medieval crusades, they clashed swords
To fight the infidels for possession
of the Holy Grail.
Infinity and eternity they pondered.
Goddesses and druids they banished
They looked into crystal balls
to find purgatory, heaven, hell,
and pondered reincarnation.
They warned women of snakes and apples,
and reminded them of banished Lilith
Then bade them to finger rosaries dedicated to Mary, the eternal
Mother, as humble as grass,
and celebrated solely for being the Mother of the Son
then traversed on to study runes and scrolls.
Martyrs and saints - versus sphinxes and pharaohs
Bibles and tea leaves. The Old Testament - The New
The Torah, the Koran
Mumbling prayers, they sang holy hymns composed by men
Forbidden, the study of music by women.
They bowed in temples and pagodas, and bent prostrate on prayer rugs in mosques,
while others crossed their faces with holy water.
The sacred chalice they lifted amongst ringing bells
In holy crusades, and knighted,
they searched for the covenant of the Ark
and for long-lost scriptures
Women held to the earth by feet cemented into the ground,
yet itched to break loose.
True, they found hope in the writhing bodies of their newborns,
innocence in the eyes of a child
compassion while tending to the sick and dying
And humility, when bending to the will of fate.
But sparks were bursting within,
and poking, like a persistent needle were the consistent yearnings
to discover truths not yet known,
to combine the strings of notes coming together in their ears,
to write the stories running through their thoughts
to know the poetry piercing their veins
to see the colors and forms on blank canvases
and to know the truths beyond and behind men’s truths
nuances and intricacies that complete the truths
As women complete humankind.
And Lilith, our eternal sister, though banished,
With a woman’s instinct she knew
we were in need of her.
And in a heroic moment she returned--
A silent wraith without shadows, without voice
Wrapped in a shroud of ghostly persistence,
she ran ahead--
through secret passage ways and down thorny paths
opening doors, parting curtains,
and giving voice of truths and enlightenments
to her ever-yearning sisters.
Susandale’s poems and fiction are on WestWard Quarterly, Ken *Again, Penman Review, Inner Art Journal, and Linden Avenue. In 2007, she won the grand prize for poetry from Oneswan. She has two published chapbooks on the internet: Spaces Among Spaces by languageandculture.org and Bending the Spaces of Time by Barometric Pressure.