Lilith

by James Deirmendjian

“She whose origin is with man’s, kindred to him as he is to his beasts, alien from him as he is from his beasts; to whom a name was given in a myth, Lilith for a name and Eden for a myth, and she a stirring far more certain than name or myth . . .”

– Charles Williams, Descent into Hell

I awoke, as to a dream, black brambles all around
A garden rich, dark and deep, of different shades of green
And every vine upon the ground, as writhing worms did creep
Commanded by lovely Lilith, garden keep brought me there
Into my thrice slashed heart, her thorny tendrils wrapped their reach
An ancient wound, scabbed over since, now opened up anew

As from a bottomless, decanting font, red nectar flowed anew
And spilled, as bloodened sweat of Christ, about the earth around
To fertilize this living theatre, whereby dramatic reach
Could re-enact, and thus relieve, the root that made me green
And towards the eerie, verdant light, now cast on clouds up there
From bloodstained earth, did rise black vine, extruding from the creep

My thrice cut heart, like crippled bird, did nestle in the creep
And wound festered, as theatre-garden promised to transform anew
Your help to heal and grow, I plead, oh you who brought me there?
But bleeding came too much to bear, with cutting vines around
From black to green and green to black, and back again to green
An oscillate, twixt love and hate, admiring envy did I reach

Oh lovely Lilith! With magic words, upon my head your spell did reach
As blackened stalk, that traveled up from underneath the creep
And all the world, from sickly vision, arrayed in tones of green
And from this bloodstained Eden, shameless Adam born anew
With speech reduced, to broken use, chartreuse light all around
With crown of thorns, nailed to the oak, was I crucified there

‘Til silence broke, and burnt away, affair hallucinated there
All thorny brambles born of despair, into which she’d reached
Did smolder and give way, to light of day, now cast all around
After bitter bite, into the fruit, from tree of knowledge hid in creep
And beams of radiant, tempered truth, did fall upon anew
And what growth came, did flush beneath, that illness had me green

And so rainbowed array, did wash off all the green
Drowning baptism, to resurrection, all had obtained there
Thus from this wondrousness and terror, was myself born anew
With memory of the human things, beyond one must not reach
Yet by the night, and in my dreams, do I fear wake the creep
To find myself, re-crucified, with brambles black and green around

Still tempting whispers all around, beckon back towards the green
And yet scarred hands forbidden but, to draw upon the creep
And to reach thus, for shining things, with words to make anew
These letter-bundles, but little crosses, forge sublimity of this truth:
from painful mortal distance, oh ravishing goddess of the night
while I ever live, and claim to love, must stand ‘tween me and you


lilith_james-diermendjian_lgeBorn in Los Angeles, California, James Deirmendjian graduated with his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Southern California in 2005. He went on to study for a one-of-a-kind M.A. in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis from the University of Essex, which he received with merit in 2006. His intellectual interests span a wide breadth in the humanities: philosophy, psychology, literature, literary theory, and the classics. A deeply embarrassed closet poet, James has recently taken the first steps towards bringing his work out into the light of publication. He hopes to pursue an MFA in the near future.

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