Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tell Halaf Mother Goddess

Tell Halaf Terracotta Mother Goddess, c. 55oo-4500 BC (The Halaf population practiced dry farming (without irrigation) and kept cattle, sheep and goats. Notable among their pottery output, the Halaf communities made distinctive baked clay female figurines that represented the Mother or Fertility Goddess. They are typified by large buttocks and hips, and often, pendulous breasts.)


an ancient city, half mainland, half island,
was the home of the Phoenicians,
great traders and makers of a purple dye
made from Mediterranean shells
worth 20 times as much as gold.
Alexander the Great wanted Tyre
and built a causeway from the debris
of war from mainland to island center
to conquer the Queen of the Seas.
Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to the
land part of the city for thirteen years,
but the residents had all gone
to the Island for safety.
Alexander was so infuriated

by Tyrian hard fought defense of
their homeland that he sold
30,000 people into slavery.
Tyre was part of the Roman
Empire in the first century,
hence the aqueducts,
and a great chariot racing
stadium. There are Phonecian,
Greek, Roman and Byzantine ruins,
Moslem temples, and a Crusader

Phonecians invented the alphabet
to keep track of who sold what
to whom, and somehow poetry
and liturgy grew out of that.

Christian Zionists believe it is part of the
Holy Land which, when restored in total,
from Syria to Egypt, to the Jews
will make way for the return of Jesus.

Zionists just want the land
restored to Israel.

The inhabitants want to bake bread,
fish, watch white sails furl as ships
come and go, raise children --

They most certainly don't like
being part of a foreign empire.

Every deity since the
Ancient Mother has justified
just that.

She was a mother,
and a goddess, here and now —
which really is enough.

©Susan Bright, 2006
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue a
nd Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

"TERRA SANCTA..."Amsterdam: Frederick de Wit, c. 1680. Engraved map with full superb original hand-coloring. (Reference: Nebenzahl #49). This highly decorative map depicts the Holy Land extending from Sidon & Damascus to the "Wilderness of Pharan" in the Sinai. Divisions of the 12 Tribes are noted, as are the biblical towns, caves, wells, & graves. Information is provided regarding the seats of ancient kingdoms from the period prior to the coming of the Israelites, as well as Roman provincial divisions from the time of Christ. The inset at the bottom depicts an encampment of Israelites during the Exodus. The 12 Tribes are deployed around the perimeter with the population of each noted; in the center is the Tabernacle with the Levites in attendance. Moses is shown (left) holding his staff opposite Aaron in priestly robes. On the sea are the legends of Jonah & the Whale & King Solomon's Lebanese cedars. Garlands, supported by angels across the top, repeat with various fruits, bunches of grapes & flowers - suggesting the theme of the Promised Land's richness. The key (upper left) explains the various symbols found in the map.


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