On Woman

MAY God be praised for woman    
That gives up all her mind,    
A man may find in no man    
A friendship of her kind    
That covers all he has brought
As with her flesh and bone,    
Nor quarrels with a thought    
Because it is not her own.    
Though pedantry denies,    
It’s plain the Bible means
That Solomon grew wise    
While talking with his queens.    
Yet never could, although    
They say he counted grass,    
Count all the praises due
When Sheba was his lass,    
When she the iron wrought, or    
When from the smithy fire    
It shuddered in the water:    
Harshness of their desire
That made them stretch and yawn,    
Pleasure that comes with sleep,    
Shudder that made them one.    
What else He give or keep    
God grant me—no, not here,
For I am not so bold    
To hope a thing so dear    
Now I am growing old,    
But when if the tale’s true    
The Pestle of the moon    
That pounds up all anew    
Brings me to birth again—    
To find what once I had    
And know what once I have known,    
Until I am driven mad,    
Sleep driven from my bed,    
By tenderness and care,    
Pity, an aching head,    
Gnashing of teeth, despair;    
And all because of some one
Perverse creature of chance,    
And live like Solomon    
That Sheba led a dance.
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