19th Century Women's Poetry

Alice Archer Sewall James (b.1870s)

Born in Glendale, Ohio, Archer Sewall studied art in Europe and Washington, D.C., and established a career as an illustrator. Ode to Girlhood, and Other Poems was published in 1899.

My love leads the white bulls to sacrifice.
He is white, and he leans against their folded necks.
Blue is the sky behind them, and the dust from the highway yellows his ivory limbs.
He leans and moves, restraining, yet drawn on by tossing heads.
He feels the festal music; rapid and strong are his arms and breast;
Yet from his waist beneath, loose and slow is his resting pace,
Flowers are in his hair, and he is fair.
He thinks he is but strong; he can overcome,
And his mind sees only the impatient horns;
But my heart sees his slimness, and would care for him like a mother.
My love leads the white bulls to sacrifice.