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Leonora Speyer

(1872-1956 / United States)

Sekhmet the Lion-Hearted


In the dark night I heard a stirring,
Near me something was purring.
A voice, deep-throated, spoke:

I litter armies for all easts and wests
And norths-and souths:
They suckle my girl-goddess breasts,
And my fierce milk drips from their mouths.
The voice sang:

I do not kill! I, Sekhmet the Lion-headed, I!
But between my soft hands they die.
I asked:

O Sekhmet, Lion-headed one,
How long shall warring be?
And Sekhmet deigned to make reply:
Eternally!
Bold in my faith I grew:

Dread goddess-cat, you lie!
Warring shall cease!
My God of love is greater far
Than you!

How gentle was the voice of Sekhmet then:
He of the Star?
He Whom they called the Prince of Peace —
And slew? —
And slew again — and yet again? —
Ah, yes! —she said.
And all about my bed
The night grew laughing-red:
Sekhmet I did not see
But in that bleeding dusk I heard
That Sekhmet purred.

Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010
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