War Poems - Poems For War - Sekhmet, The Lion-Headed Goddess Of War - Poem by Margaret Atwood | Poem Hunter

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Sekhmet, The Lion-Headed Goddess Of War - Poem by Margaret Atwood

He was the sort of man
who wouldn't hurt a fly.
Many flies are now alive
while he is not.
He was not my patron.
He preferred full granaries, I battle.
My roar meant slaughter.
Yet here we are together
in the same museum.
That's not what I see, though, the fitful
crowds of staring children
learning the lesson of multi-
cultural obliteration, sic transit
and so on.

I see the temple where I was born
or built, where I held power.
I see the desert beyond,
where the hot conical tombs, that look
from a distance, frankly, like dunces' hats,
hide my jokes: the dried-out flesh
and bones, the wooden boats
in which the dead sail endlessly
in no direction.

What did you expect from gods
with animal heads?
Though come to think of it
the ones made later, who were fully human
were not such good news either.
Favour me and give me riches,
destroy my enemies.
That seems to be the gist.
Oh yes: And save me from death.
In return we're given blood
and bread, flowers and prayer,
and lip service.

Maybe there's something in all of this
I missed. But if it's selfless
love you're looking for,
you've got the wrong goddess.

I just sit where I'm put, composed
of stone and wishful thinking:
that the deity who kills for pleasure
will also heal,
that in the midst of your nightmare,
the final one, a kind lion
will come with bandages in her mouth
and the soft body of a woman,
and lick you clean of fever,
and pick your soul up gently by the nape of the neck
and caress you into darkness and paradise.

Comments about Sekhmet, The Lion-Headed Goddess Of War by Margaret Atwood

  • Rookie Gabrielle A. Macdonald (12/22/2006 11:41:00 PM)

    One of her best. Irony full-tilt at the idea of gods and how they are really composed of human wishes and expectations.The last stanza modulates into an un-atwod kind of tenderness - but this too only reflects the desires of the dying (presumably in war) (Report) Reply

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Poems About War

  1. 1. A War Song To Englishmen , William Blake
  2. 2. A Prayer In Time Of War , Alfred Noyes
  3. 3. The Next War , Wilfred Owen
  4. 4. Love And War , Ovid
  5. 5. War Is Never Over , Cecil L. Harrison
  6. 6. Sekhmet, The Lion-Headed Goddess Of War , Margaret Atwood
  7. 7. From A German War Primer , Bertolt Brecht
  8. 8. In California During The Gulf War , Denise Levertov
  9. 9. Lessons Of The War , Henry Reed
  10. 10. A Meditation In Time Of War , William Butler Yeats
  11. 11. War Some More , Sandra Osborne
  12. 12. Nefarious War , Li Po
  13. 13. Two Poems From The War , Archibald MacLeish
  14. 14. Do Not Weep, Maiden, For War Is Kind , Stephen Crane
  15. 15. Repression Of War Experience , Siegfried Sassoon
  16. 16. On Receiving News Of The War , Isaac Rosenberg
  17. 17. Meditations In Time Of Civil War , William Butler Yeats
  18. 18. Spring In War Time , Sara Teasdale
  19. 19. Woman And War , Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  20. 20. On Being Asked For A War Poem , William Butler Yeats
  21. 21. The Next War , Robert Graves
  22. 22. Memorial Day For The War Dead , Yehuda Amichai
  23. 23. War Of The Worlds , john tiong chunghoo
  24. 24. Sonnet 46: Mine Eye And Heart Are At A M.. , William Shakespeare
  25. 25. They Gave Us A War That Nobody Wanted , Patrick O'Donnell
  26. 26. War Music [down On Your Knees, Achilles] , Christopher Logue
  27. 27. War-Music , Henry Van Dyke
  28. 28. Dusk In War Time , Sara Teasdale
  29. 29. War...War...War... , joe yourmom
  30. 30. The War Films , Sir Henry Newbolt
  31. 31. Song-Books Of The War , Siegfried Sassoon
  32. 32. At The War Office, London (Affixing The .. , Thomas Hardy
  33. 33. To Lucasta On Going To The War - For The.. , Robert Graves
  34. 34. War Song , John Davidson
  35. 35. Man's Civil War , Robert Southwell
  36. 36. War Song , Thomas Moore
  37. 37. War Profit Litany , Allen Ginsberg
  38. 38. At The War Office, London. , Thomas Hardy
  39. 39. The Holy War , Rudyard Kipling
  40. 40. Tell Brave Deeds Of War , Stephen Crane
  41. 41. Declaration Of War , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  42. 42. War , Charles Wagner
  43. 43. There Was Crimson Clash Of War. , Stephen Crane
  44. 44. Fortune Of War , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  45. 45. War Torn , James Mills
  46. 46. A Date With An Anti-War Protester , Chuck Audette
  47. 47. A Radical War Song , Thomas Babbington Macaulay
  48. 48. The Ashantee War , William Topaz McGonagall
  49. 49. On A Line From Valéry (The Gulf War) , Carolyn Kizer
  50. 50. 0354 Not Quite War , Michael Shepherd
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