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

gripped

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?

If so,

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,"

answered He,

"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! :)



4 comments:

Rachel said...

Very touching. Thanks for posting!
That little book must be full of similar treasures. :)

ASourceOfJoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ASourceOfJoy said...

That's so beautiful, Mary. Thank you for sharing. :hugs:

Joy Courville said...

Mary, that was good. I finally took the time to read it and was really touched. It's very true. He knows. Thank you for sharing it!