Tree of Life

I may live in an Irish backwater, but the news of how hate filled and destructive humans can be reaches us. No amount of natural beauty can completely cancel out the fact of the ugliness that humans can wreck. Today’s poetry practice is based on the news cycle, the massacre of people in their house of worship. The Pittsburgh synagogue is called Tree of Life and this immediately brought to my mind the Cannanite goddess, Asherah, who still lingers in Hebrew cultural memory. This is a poem to Asherah and her people written in sorrow and anger.

 

Tree of Life

 

When God was allowed a wife

her name was Asherah.

She was the sacred tree of life –

root, branch, bud, leaf, flower,

the berry that had the seed,

the source of nature’s power.

 

When God was allowed a wife,

(before she was veiled and put into purdah)

no one would have dared or dreamed to take a life,

to even strike a blow against the sacred tree.

For she is the one who holds up the sky.

For she is the one who holds back tsunami sea.

 

When God was allowed a wife

just like prophets or Krishna or Buddha,

did we live with less strife?

Did we need to burn a holocaust,

to join human blood with timber?

When will this urge in us be exhausted?

 

When God was allowed a wife –

Praise be her name Asherah!-

She was axis and afterlife

She demanded no blood sacrifice.

She was root, branch, bud, leaf, flower, berry.

She was the Garden of Paradise.

 

When God was allowed a wife –

She had a name, Asherah –

we walked in Beauty. We loved life.

 

Copyright © Bee Smith 2018

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