The Second Woman
An excerpt from the verse novel “Lilith’s Children” by Isolde Kurz
Translated by Becca Menon
Then a wafting disturbance roils the slumberous wheat,
And down from the aether with wings that fan the heat
“Ha, what a welcome occasion,
To find him thus reposing, the crown of creation!
Come, heavenly hosts, sing hosannah! See
How divinely he snoozes. What godly dignity.
How apt! Hear his drooling babble, this nonpareil,
Whom the Lord Almighty makes heir over Sammael!
And yet, however beastly the beast’s behavior,
Lilith lifts him up like a personal savior;
She even forswears the airy regions of light
Until he should learn to become her companion in flight.
A pair of wings lie there in his forge, but they comically failed;
Sparrows and falcons mocked his fall as he flailed
Despite all his ratchets, his goose-based design and his care;
But he’ll keep on trying until he achieves the air.
And once he tastes the joys of the soaring elect,
The earth will seem that much harder in retrospect.
Now’s the time to play my little game
Before he triumphs, before he fulfills his aim!
Now, Samael, bring your masterwork into effect.
Although I may lack the true creative gift,
I saw how the Potter worked till His clay-piece sniffed.
I’ve practiced making dolls from the same dense stuff;
But their tempting features alone won’t be enough.
It’s all in vain: without life-giving inspiration,
I can’t make the marriage of matter to respiration.
So, Adam, allow me my prank, and I’ll try to avert
Any pain. I’m nimble-fingered and won’t let it hurt.
That rib your raised-arm posture exposes so nicely,
I think will fit my masterpiece precisely.
The flesh will grow back quickly, I’m fairly sure,
And I need the living bone for an armature.
It must be bent with craft and care so it serves
To form a body that’s taut, yet soft with curves.
A little more kneading, nothing too complex;
Lovely, there she is ― the second sex.
She has brought along the breath from Adam’s dwelling;
The sun will hatch it forth like a chick from its shelling.
Just one thing’s lacking, but it’s a lucky fault:
No brain upsets this rib-maiden’s vault.
Undoubtedly, she’ll prove that much more persuasive.
Good, she’s breathing! Through her, let my power be pervasive.