Spring: Birth of the Masculine

Spring: Birth of the Masculine


Carolyn Zonailo


I think men and women have two very different tasks. We both come out of a woman’s body. In order to define our own identity as women, we females don’t have to separate from the identification with the mother. We started with this identity and we can maintain it … Men have a harder task in many ways. In order to find their gender identity as males, they have to completely separate from that initial identification with the mother.

From an article by Tracy Marks in The Mountain Astrologer


Full moon and lunar eclipse
4° Libra on March 23rd
the moon 92% eclipsed
Mars visible

at mid-eclipse
the moon appears

through binoculars
the round orb
mostly in shadows

that is how spring
rises up
like a man’s erection

bringing the birth
of the masculine

men are from Mars
women are from Venus

springing into being
rising up
an uprising from the earth,
from cold, darkness,
dormant months

now comes desire
now comes rebirth
now comes action and activity

the green stem
visible above ground

bud on branch
ready to open

I am, I am, I am
birth of the ego
birth of will-power

the ice-bound river
now swollen and rushing
over its banks
in spring floods

spring blew in
on a warm wind
yesterday afternoon

ii) Old mothers

The old mothers
have turned sour
like milk left in the refrigerator
long after the expiry date

the old mothers
have turned bitter
like the taste
of unripened fruit
fallen from the branches

the old mothers
have vomited out
their rage
against the young brides
who lie beside their sons
as the earth
turns back
into green growth

the old mothers
resent even the sons
they gave birth to

when springtime
stirs lust in the men
and the sons ache
with longing
for a woman’s tender body

the sons want
the yielding flesh
of mutual desire

in the springtime
the old mothers
turn to ice
become stone

just as the earth thaws
fertility returns
and the sons mate
with unknown females

the sons enter
greener valleys

the sons leave
the old mother
to be born again
in the embrace
of another woman

as the old mothers
harden their hearts
let their hearts turn
back into the season of winter


Ah, the lovely
young brides of springtime
are dressed in white
satin bridal gowns

lace veils
around their sweet faces
carrying armfuls of flowers—
lily, iris, baby’s breath

they walk daintily
down the wedding aisle
wreathed in flowers,
dressed in innocent white

with frilly undergarments
or something naughty,
a garter
around a thigh eager

to part
with their girlhood
to fall into the arms
of the masculine
of the man she loves

spring like a marrying
virginal, virginal
the whole earth

beginning all over again
bleeding hearts
in a clump at the driveway’s

the mating of birds
the migrating geese
sounding their return
in a V-formation

and the lilac bushes
in full blossom

and mock orange
scent the air

those first green stems
pushing up out of the ground
to the transformation
about the begin

iv) The winding cloth


death and sex
love and dying
decay and desire

from womb to tomb

the white bridal dress
a winding cloth
unwinding from life to death

traveling 10,000 miles
for lust
to be fulfilled

clear across the world
to the other hemisphere
to lay beside one’s own true love

the small death
petit morte
they call it
desire temporarily sated


the masculine
is born
when the umbilical cord
to mother, mother, mother
is cut

a winding sheet
binds the bones

“I strip people
down to their skeletons,
then I rub the bones
to discover
who they are”

it’s a long journey
to the other side
of the world

winter there
when summer here
leaves falling
when spring unfolds

but this is how
the masculine
is born

from distant travels
to faraway places
to sleep beside
a foreign bride

and feel at home
in her arms

v) Hollow bones for the spirit

The shaman says
“become a hollow bone
for the spirit
to speak through”

trees, rocks, winds, waters

rattle his bones
over the stones

Sang a bone upon the shore

the shaman is a healer
the astrologer is a seer
the psychic is a prophet
the poet is a visionary


A bone wave-whitened and dried in the wind

I am a hollow bone
the spirit
speaks through me


Even kings
become unhappy

hard to bend
old knees
upon hardened earth

or the cold stone floor
of the chapel

the Fisher King
dreaming of release
while the rivers, streams, lakes
dry up
his land barren

Life and myth intertwine in the human embryo, which
begins its development as a fish-like entity, with organs
similar to gills that enable it to live within the uterine
waters. Before birth, mother and child are fused in
the image of the fish.


Middle-aged men
dream of the bodies
of young women
fifteen year old

Japanese businessmen
visit brothels

where prostitutes dress up
in schoolgirl uniforms

sex trade workers
younger and younger

satisfy men’s lust
for youth
for rejuvenation

turn the clock

in too many parts
of the world
women sold
into sexual slavery

(this evening’s news
two teenage girls
abducted from a shopping
mall and sold
for $3,000 each)

fathers abuse
their children

that’s what we call it
in the last quarter
of the twentieth century

incest an ancient
“sudden memory syndrome”
another name
for this taboo

in the psychic

down deep
in the human

viii) Prince of darkness

Twenty year old men
dream of becoming
the father

could mean
making it with mother

married to the mother
with mother’s love

and then there is Oedipus
at the crossroads

forward or backward
into the embrace
of the devouring mother


or forward to spring
and birth of the masculine

desire pulling
on all senses


Ouranos forced Gaia
(mother and wife)
to bury their children
inside herself

he called them

Gaia hid Saturn
in a cave
(womb, tomb)
until he killed
the old man
sky god Ouranos

cut off his genitals
and cast them
out to sea

(aphros = foam,
Aphrodite, sea-born,
sprung from the foam
of the sea)

father to son
son to father

Saturn’s turn next
to be killed
by his own son

Saturn swallowed
his five children
as soon as they
were born

when the sixth
child born
Rhea (sister and wife)
fed Saturn
a heavy stone

wrapped in cloth
(winding sheet)

the son Zeus
forced father Saturn
to disgorge
the other five children

Zeus organized
his siblings

to rise up as a gang
the controlling father

Zeus conquered
the Titans

Zeus became god
of the universe


The masculine
is born
out of the feminine

Faher Heaven
to his mother
Mother Earth

history = politics
myth = collective

Oedipus returns
to the crossroads

blind, broken king

Hamlet keeps on plotting
knife in hand

should he kill
the king?

should he put
out his eyesight?

should Parsifal
(Mama’s boy)
wear the protective
suit his mother knit?

can he ask
the right question?

can the hero
slay the dragon?
(always mother,
for a man)

can the land
be returned
to fertility?

“tomb of womb/
womb of tomb”

the daughter
into the feminine

cyclic, ouroboric,
a circle forever
becoming our mothers

a circle forever
completing itself


In the springtime
birds mate

in a frenzy of flight
an airy tryst

the masculine
born from desire
to separate
from the mother

to separate
and return
to the feminine

the flavour
of the season

the “rise and fall”
of the masculine

space ships
martial arts

rise and fall
of the stock market
crash of the Asian markets
in 1997


the myth
of the hero’s


sexual union

the trajectory
of male lust
a driving force

rejecting mother

to go in search
of princess luna

falling into lust
with the seducing

can’t see
with or without

blinded by love
only Tiresias
male and female
has inner vision

“tomb of womb/
womb of tomb”

to escape
the mother
only to be
by a beautiful

the belle dame
sans merci

no mercy

except with
the eternal feminine
cyclic, nurturing,

call it love or lust
the thrust
behind the masculine

male born
from female

a second birth
into manhood
returns him
back to the feminine

from earth goddess
to sex goddess

the female

in eternity

Where the Moon’s instinct is to nurture and care for,
the Earth’s drive is to generate and to consume,
to bring forth form and in the process to devour
and assimilate whatever material it needs.

xii) The age of Aries

And so the masculine
is born

from the fever
of spring

the war
between the sexes

the age of patriarchy

young men
become warriors

we acquire

we fight
for a nation

we build

we engage
in commerce

(at the crossroads)

the virgin brides
become mothers
defending home
and family

and the goddess

xiii) Spring

The west coast

begins in late

snowdrops, crocus,
witch hazel

pussy willows
and forsythia

then rhododendrons,

and magnolia

daffodils, tulips,

the cherry trees
and flowering
(pink and white)

week by week
from January
until June

the unfolding
of different

and clematis vines

an exquisite
slow springtime

on Southland flats
a rhododendron bush
as big as the house
purple blossoms
covering the entire
front of the home
right up to the roof

Montreal spring
lasts two weeks
straight from winter
into summer

during that fortnight
between when debris
left from the snow

and summer’s heat

gardens grow

get up in the morning
the plants
have risen
four inches
while we were sleeping

lilacs bloom
all over Notre Dame de Grace

and Solomon’s Seal

and beautiful
bearded iris

the spring so fast
you can see
the plants grow

the trees leaf
the birds mate

instant transformation
winter to summer

colder than Norway
in winter
hotter than Ethiopia
in summer

ah youth,
ah youth

the virginal time
the young stud

the erection
the passion

all spent
so quickly


Carolyn Zonailo:

Carolyn Zonailo’s interest in mythology, archetypal studies, and Jungian psychology is evident in Spring: Birth of the Masculine. Zonailo’s poetic vision encompasses a personal and feminist viewpoint together with that of a mythic and universal perspective. Carolyn Zonailo has published nine books of poetry and several chapbooks. Born in Vancouver, Canada, she has made her home in Montreal for the past dozen years. She founded Caitlin Press in 1977, now located in northern British Columbia. She is a member of The League of Canadian Poets and The Writers’ Union of Canada. She is currently completing Fight Fire With Fire: New & Selected Poems (2012) and a book of stories about her childhood and her Doukhobor heritage. Visit her website at www.carolynzonailo.com.

Copyright © Carolyn Zonailo 2005, 2012