Lillith and the Devil
Todays guest writer is Scottish Poet, Carole Bone, whose first published piece, “Lilith and Devil” has been kindly reproduced for readers to enjoy along with some background information about the piece and her inspiration behind it.
Lilith and the Devil
My thoughts are dark like Lilith’s night
My dreams like Vincent’s crows in flight
Despair my enemy – my comrade
Are shadows real or just charade
The Devil grins and winks at me
Come dance with me and you will see
Dance with the Devil quick quick slow
Better the Devil that you know
Like an old friend he stands by me
And promises to set me free
Cut my bonds and free my soul
Just pay the ferryman his toll
Pandora’s box of dark delights
Tempt me in the Moon dark nights
Delicious pain won’t let me go
It comforts and torments me so
And when at last released to light
Still feel the teasing sultry night
Call me like a secret love
Iron hand in velvet glove
The Devil laughs and speaks to me
Of all these things to help me see
That angels know these things I know
For as above is so below
I feel rather humble to be asked for advice to would be poets – but I would say write from the heart whatever you write – I think it shows in your writing.
I would like anyone reading my poetry to be moved by the imagery and words. I think it’s impossible to have someone know exactly what you meant when writing because inevitabley people put their own interpretaion on it and you are not in control of that so you have to be aware that others will take meaning from your poem you did not intend and be ok with that.
As a child I loved nothing more than when my English teacher gave us an essay to write. I could never contain myself to the set number of pages allocated. A fact, which would be of no surprise to anyone who knows me….
However it was many years later after some particularly trying events in my life, when Pam Blair, one of many wonderful and inspiring women that came into my life at that time, suggested writing my thoughts down as a way of clarifying them.
I took her advice and slowly, stirring somewhere deep inside like a dormant seed suddenly getting the right conditions to grow, came the notion that I would like to write something more structured…..
The idea incubated for a while in the dark recesses of my mind, slowly germinating and unfolding like a green shoot from the earth to present itself on to the blinding white light of a blank page on my computer screen. There, suddenly popping up on its smooth open expanse was a poem… or the makings of one. For some strange reason my thoughts and feelings seemed to flow more easily expressed in rhyme. More ideas came and one or two more poems. I was enjoying it immensely and I began to wonder if what I was writing was any good and could I learn to write “proper” poetry?
Enter the formidable and very talented Anne Whitaker. I first met Anne when I was studying that other subject which had come to absorb me so much at this time, Astrology. I knew Anne had taught English in the past and I valued her opinion highly as a very astute and intelligent woman. I knew she would pull no punches but also that any positive comments would be honest, stimulating and encouraging. Anne has been a wonderfully constructive and inspirational influence ever since. On her suggestion I sent the poem featured here “Lilith and the Devil” to a highly respected American Astrology bi-monthly magazine, “The Mountain Astrologer”. It was accepted for publication much to my delight.
The inspiration for “Lilith and the Devil” came from many sources. In myth Lilith was a wind demon, a succubus and a stealer of babies and was said to have lain with the devil. In folklore she was Adam’s first wife and like him God made her from the earth ergo she considered herself Adam’s partner and equal. Her wrath at Adam’s subsequent rejection of her when she would not be submissive to him sexually, or any other way, seemed strangely in tune with women today and all the benefits and burdens that modern life and equality has afforded them. Recent thought puts a positive slant on the legend, speculating that Lilith represents the independent female who is self sufficient and confident rather than the savage vengeful demon.
In Astrology Lilith is represented by the black moon, a theoretical point in the horoscope that describes a dark facet of our nature. By sign, house and aspect she is descriptive of hidden depths and a negative side of ourselves we prefer not to face. Such rich tales invoked many images as I contemplated the less savoury side of human nature and how we often struggle to cope with things like sorrow, pain, loss, anger and despair but also how we can surprise ourselves by rising to the challenges life presents with remarkable strength we were unaware lay within us and how growth, experience, understanding and transformation are often the unexpected rewards.
It occurred to me that many of these themes were rather similar to the principles of birth, death and renewal linked with the sign of Scorpio. Intense, obsessive and capable of renewing itself phoenix like from experiences that would floor others, Scorpio is a sign that is no stranger to the dark side of human nature. Renewal and rebirth are highly positive Scorpio traits but when negative it is a sign that can hold on to its pain closely, nursing it to itself. Jealousy, revenge and bitterness are traits than can eat away at the negative Scorpio type.
As I pondered on thoughts of Lilith and Scorpio, images and themes started to take shape on my blank page as “Lilith and the Devil”. The second line of the poem is inspired by Vincent Van Gogh. His final work “Wheatfield with Crows” is a dark and broody painting reflecting the artist’s troubled frame of mind, particularly at that time. Within a month of completing it he went for a walk near the spot where he painted the picture and shot himself. He died three days later.
The line “Delicious pain won’t let me go – it comforts and torments me so” came from reflections on the struggle man has always had with his conscience, with temptation of all kinds and their consequences, which in turn led me to thoughts of Pandora’s Box. The myth of Pandora’s box is a cautionary tale of curiosity and how once we know something innocence cannot be regained. This theme is paralleled in the bible when the Devil persuades Eve to tempt Adam with the apple of knowledge.
NB. For those of you like myself (of the titian persuasion) I digress here to insert an interesting side note on a myth on red hair which historically has many superstitions attached to in (Van Gogh had red hair too). In many classical paintings, Eve is depicted as a blonde until after she tempts Adam with the apple. Thereafter she is depicted as a redhead. Lilith was also redhaired so maybe Adam should have stuck with Lilith…..
Astrology is based on polarity, meaning nothing can be understood without its opposite principle, good and evil, angels and demons, dark and light, assertion and aggression, yin and yang. One cannot be understood without the other. Therein lies the meaning of the last line of the poem. Astrological tenet is that all life in the cosmos is linked in cycles reflected at every level of existence. What happens in the macrocosm is reflected in the microcosm.
“As above is so below.”
…and Lilith – well like all women - Lilith was way ahead of her time!
Carole is mother to two magical boys and wife for thirty three years to a Capricorn who is without doubt her rock. Would be astrologer; this subject has kept her (relatively) sane by helping her to understand the contradictory pulls existing in her nature between the home-loving dreamer and the restless seeker after knowledge….. And all channeled through a shy Virgo Rising.
Thanks Carole for sharing your expertise and insights.