Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. (1878–1962).  Anthology of Magazine Verse for 1920.  1920.
Sekhmet the Lion-Headed
Leonora Speyer
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:        5
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.        10
I asked:
O Sekhmet, Lion-headed one,
How long shall warring be?
And Sekhmet deigned to make reply:
Eternally!        15
Bold in my faith I grew:
Dread goddess-cat, you lie!
Warring shall cease!
My God of love is greater far
Than you!        20
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?—        25
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        30
That Sekhmet purred.

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