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