Thursday, February 26, 2009
The Question of A Disappointed Woman
We sat alone together,
My empty heart and I -
My lonely heart,
My hungry, cheated heart -
We sat and reasoned why.
We asked each other why this thing should be.
We argued it together, drearily,
My hungry disappointed heart and I.
For we had asked no more
Than other women clamoured for, and got.
No, nor so much.
We asked a place to store
our treasure trove.
The right to pour and pour
Life's wine away. We did not want to take,
But, just to give, and give - for giving's sake.
"O God! O God!" I said.
"The other women cry to Thee for bread.
But give me crumbs; I shall be satisfied.
Give me the right to open my heart wide.
I would expend. 'Tis thus that women grow.
Lord, pity me. For Thou hast made me so!"
He heard me. Yes, He heard.
But life had slipped,
And He had said no word
(Or thus I thought), and so
I put my hand out, one dark night, and
His garment's hem...for He is very nigh.
To all who call upon Him...I had cried,
And He was there, beside.
My pillow. So, I said:
"Now Thou art here, I will not let Thee go
Till Thou hast answered
My earnest questioning
Explained away this thing.
For here am I,
Thy creature, and I cannot understand
Why Thou, Who openest Thy bounteous Hand
And satisfiest birds and beasts and flowers
With golden sunbeams and with silver showers,
And sendest winds to bless the violet,
Canst so forget
A woman...yea, a woman Thou hast set
Upon this earth, whether she will or no.
What has she done, that Thou should'st serve her so?
"Lord, there is comfort in Thee, when great ills
Afflict mankind. And when our erring wills
Lead us astray,
Then Thou hast planned a way
To rescue us. And in the hour of death,
Thy Life will triumph, so the Scripture said...
But - I can bring Thee no smooth shibboleth -
I ask today,
What hast Thou got to say
To women, in whose ears the crushing 'Nay'
Has sounded forth? Is there a salve?
I want to let the other women know."
* * *
"My little one," He said,
"You who have cried so piteously for bread,
But have not known
That woman does not live by bread alone.
In joy's swift ecstasy, or sorrow's night,
Can tempting winds lure her appetite?
And yet she lives! ... And is it, then, too much
To think that He,
Who made a woman's frame so skilfully,
And can sustain it without wheaten bread,
Can also see her spirit-nature fed?
What? Shall I let her life limp on a crutch?
And lead her passionate heart uncomforted?
"Why, Who first thought of Womansoul, and made her?
Whose musings moulded her?
Whose hands arrayed her
In fold on fold of winsome wistfulness?
Oh, it was I!
And yet, when women cry,
And seek for words to utter their distress,
They pray as though I neither know nor care;
As though Chance fashioned Woman, unaware.
They weep! And how they sigh!
As though I had a grudge against them.
. . . I!
"And thou would'st grow?
But how the lilies grow? They never fret
Nor grieve because they think I may forget
Their daily dole of sun and silver dew
They never strive
To keep themselves alive,
As human creatures do.
They never beckon far-off Happiness,
Nor beat back coming Woe.
I care for them; and shall I love thee less?
Not so, child! Oh, not so!"
"But life has slipped away," I whispered then.
"There's no time left for winds to blow again
And change my desert to a garden fair.
Look in my face! Look at my whitning hair!"
"No, 'time'? Nay, that is true! But,"
"Wert thou not fashioned for Eternity?
Oh, tarry thou My leisure, child; for, see,
It doth not yet appear what thou shalt be."
* * *
And so, I am living by the day.
With just sufficient grace
To fill my own small place.
With just enough of quiet happiness
To spill a little here and there; to bless
Some lonelier heart on some more straitened way.
I do not cry or clamour any more;
Not shake the fast-locked door.
I am so sure that He Who holds the key
On the right day will open it for me.
- Faye Inchfawn, Homely Verses of A Home-Lover
My great-grandmother had this old book of poetry written by a woman around the turn of the century. She bequeathed it to my mother about 30 years ago. I'm hoping the little tattered volume will be mine some day! :)