I’d marked these two poems in the 2011 We’Moon datebook:
What Does a Goddess Look Like?
She is tuberous terracotta, she is golden twins,
sacred violins, nappy triangles tucked
at meeting of thigh and belly
snakes swing in the air
arms raised in prayer
She is a silken hair-robed majesty standing on a sea shell
Our great mother deconstructed into male fantasies and re-gathered:
milk, water, mixed with blood in barreled belly folded flesh
round red vase
She is old and rests on rock, feet braced apart,
hunched in grief, arched in anger, hands smashing stones
against the iron feet of thunder gods
She is women laughing, spilling wine, chopping onions
licking licorice, looking backwards savoring salt, satisfied, she is
mother pulling patience from the air, bedraggled hair, she is
woman stacking shocks of corn, woman making love in dreadlocks
sweeping floors sweating summer heat.
What does a goddess look like?
She looks like you, She looks like me
She looks like us in sacred conversation.
They are coming to life,
They are coming!
They are singing back to us.
And they are dancing!
The Venus of Willendorf has hip
rocked open the entrance doors
of Vienna’s Natural History Museum.
She’s waltzing down the Strasse,
pendulous breasts swinging.
Her hands which have rested on them
for millennia are arcing
through the air
like two ecstatic love birds.
Meanwhile in Malta’s Hypogeum, The Sleeping Lady is waking
from labyrinthine dreams, pregnant with power for healing.
She is opening her eyes, rolling her vast thighs over
the platform sides. Snakes are spiraling from her ankles to the ceiling.
In every corner of the planet, they are breaking out of their prisons–
archaeological sites where there are no sacred rites,
vaults and glass boxes in temperature controlled rooms
where they are seldom seen and there is no touching.
They are growing back their missing limbs,
repainting themselves in the colour of life.
And they are dancing.
It is harvest time. The moon is full and fat and buttery.
She is spreading her liminal light along the pathways
where hundreds of them are streaming—
cavorting, cackling and mischieving.
Every woman who has a besom has snatched it from the closet
And is flying out the back door to greet them.
And now the Venus of Laussel and Dolni Vestonice
have joined to make an archway.
With a shimmy and a shindig, Sheila-Na-Gig
(dauntless icon of fecundity and pleasure)
jostles through first, snapping her purse
revealing and concealing her treasure.
They are all here.
Grain goddesses, crowned snake goddesses,
uterine egg-shaped goddesses,
bird-faced goddesses, birth-giving goddesses.
Dancing for our lives. Dancing for our future.
Dancing for the Earth. Dancing for the Great Mother.
–Debra Hall (this poem is offered as a prayer of liberation and healing For Aung Sun Kyi and the women of Burma)