Primo Levi

25 May 1965

Translated from Italian, which I do not have. If you have it and are willing to share, please contact me. Feldman, Ruth & Brian Swann, trans. (1988). Primo Levi: Collected Poems. p. 26. Boston: Faber and Faber.
Lilith, our second kinswoman,
Created by God with the same clay
That served for Adam.
Lilith lives in the middle of the undertow,
But emerges at the new Moon
And flies restless through the snowy nights,
Irresolute between earth and sky.
She spins around in circles,
Rustles unexpected against the windows
Where newborn babies sleep.
She hunts then out and tries to kill them.
Therefore you will hang over their beds
The medallion with the three words.
But everything she does is useless: all her desires.
She coupled with Adam, after the sin,
But the only things born of her
Are spirits without bodies or peace.
It is written in the great book
That she is a beautiful woman, down to the waist.
The rest is will-o'-the-wisp and pale light.

Poem: © Copyright 1984, Garzanti Editore s.p.a.
Trans: © Copyright 1988, Ruth Feldman & Brian Swann.

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