21 April 2013

Stevens' Lilith

And I, the Instructor, proclaim His glorious splendour so as to frighten and to te[rrify] all the spirits of the destroying angels, spirits of the bastards, demons, Lilith, howlers, and [desert dwellers…] and those which fall upon men without warning to lead them astray from a spirit of understanding and to make their heart and their […] desolate during the present dominion of wickedness and predetermined time of humiliations for the sons of lig[ht], by the guilt of the ages of [those] smitten by iniquity – not for eternal destruction, [bu]t for an era of humiliation for transgression.

--Songs of the Sage


Female demon. Of the three Assyrian demons Lilu, Lilit, and Ardat Lilit, the second is referred to in Isa. xxxiv. 14. Schrader ("Jahrb. für Protestantische Theologie," i. 128)takes Lilith to be a goddess of the night; she is said to have been worshiped by the Jewish exiles in Babylon (Levy, in "Z. D. M. G." ix. 470, 484). Sayce ("Hibbert Lectures," pp. 145 et seq.), Fossey ("La Magie Assyrienne," pp. 37 et seq.), and others think that "Lilith" is not connected with the Hebrew "layil" (night), but that it is the name of a demon of the storm, and this view is supported by the cuneiform inscriptions quoted by them. It must, however, be assumed that the resemblance to the Semitic "layil" materially changed the conception of Lilith among the Semites, and especially among the Jews. No definite conclusions can be drawn from the passage in Isaiah, where it is said of the devastated palaces of Edom that wild animals shall dwell in them "and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech-owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest" (Isa. xxxiv. 14; see Cheyne's note ad loc.). Baudissin connects Lilith with Zech. v. 9.


Domination Of Black

At night, by the fire,
The colors of the bushes
And of the fallen leaves,
Repeating themselves,
Turned in the room,
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
Yes: but the color of the heavy hemlocks
Came striding.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

The colors of their tails
Were like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind,
In the twilight wind.
They swept over the room,
Just as they flew from the boughs of the hemlocks
Down to the ground.
I heard them cry -- the peacocks.
Was it a cry against the twilight
Or against the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind,
Turning as the flames
Turned in the fire,
Turning as the tails of the peacocks
Turned in the loud fire,
Loud as the hemlocks
Full of the cry of the peacocks?
Or was it a cry against the hemlocks?

Out of the window,
I saw how the planets gathered
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
I saw how the night came,
Came striding like the color of the heavy hemlocks
I felt afraid.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

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