A Woman to Her Lover
Do you come to me to bend me to your will
as conqueror to the vanquished
to make of me a bondslave
to bear you children, wearing out my life
in drudgery and silence
no servant will I be
if that be what you ask. O lover I refuse you!
Or if you think in me to find
whose every deed and word and wish is golden
a wingless angel who can do no wrong
go! - I am no doll to dress and sit for feeble worship
if that be what you ask, fool, I refuse you!
Or if you think to wed with one from heaven sent
a creature who will have no greater joy
than gratify your clamorous desire,
my skin soft only for your fond caresses
my body supple only for your sense delight.
Oh shame, and pity and abasement.
Not for you the hand of any wakened woman of our time.
But lover, if you ask of me
that I shall be your comrade, friend, and mate,
to live and work, to love and die with you,
that so together we may know the purity and height
of passion, and of joy and sorrow,
then o husband, I am yours forever
and our co-equal love will make the stars to laugh with joy
and to its circling fugue pass, hand holding hand
until we reach the very heart of God.
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.