Kate McNamara – The Insurrection of Lilith

McNamara LE P&W 4 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Four Nov-Dec 2023.

The Insurrection of Lilith, poems by Kate McNamara.

The Insurrection of Lilith

(Lilith, according to the Torah, was Adam’s first wife.
However, she refused to be subjugated to Adam’s will
and was thrown out of Eden. She was then reconstructed
as a demon that terrorized men)

How a woman lies with her silence mouth clotted with
the blood of dark nights.

The blind caterpillar reflexively weaves its own shroud
the queen bee sits in her six sided cell endlessly reproducing the buzzing hive
the hen submits to incubating nests full of eggs.

Only a mind debauched by learning makes the natural strange.

All our furious grasping at life our hands
that mangle and grab the monsters that seethe
lurking in the unstable heart.

The perfect mind wings beating trapped utterly.

Journeys of futility hair forcing more follicles
cells mutating the slip and slide of blood
the absolute tidal pull of breathing
our wanton caprices of passion.

Short nights long long penance.

The maggots that curdle and writhe in the white
blinding mind unforgiving unforgiveable
beset by rage scalding and burning scarring
the withered stumps of time our mouths
swelling with the wasted tumescence of words.

All of it stilled by death
stay not her hand when she comes in the violet hour
perfect at last cleaving to earth pure in the flame
and quiet so quiet at last.

and the startling clarity of bones.

For Spike

On a white bed
Bleeding sickness
The old cat sleeps
A still compass in the night.

What tiger dreams rake
Through your slow retracting claws,
Young cat in treetime?

There’s tree bark
On your whiskers and dew
From spiders’ web, wise one.
You open one green eye,
As lethal as a sea snake,
And then return.

You’ll not stay long now,
These long years mauled
By time and tragedy
You have kept faith with me.
I will hear you still
The slow lashing tail
Across stars and time
Memory will bring you home.

© Kate McNamara

Kate McNamara is a poet, playwright and critical theorist. She also works as an editor. Her plays have been performed inter-nationally and she was invited to deliver the opening address to the 4th International Conference of Women Playwrights in Galway. She has recently returned to her first love: poetry. Her works have been published in a range of formats. A founding member of the Canberra Surrealist movement, Aktion Surreal, she lives in Ainslie with her sons, cats and a menagerie of wild birds.

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