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- Poems of Purpose - 10/12 -


O well have we done the old tasks! in the old, old ways of earth. We have kept the house in order, we have given the children birth; And our sons went out with their fathers, and left us alone at the hearth!

We have cooked the meats for their table; we have woven their cloth at the loom; We have pulled the weeds from their gardens, and kept the flowers in bloom; And then we have sat and waited, alone in a silent room.

We have borne all the pains of travail in giving life to the race; We have toiled and saved, for the masters, and helped them to power and place; And when we asked for a pittance, they gave it with grudging grace.

On the bold, bright face of the dollar all the evils of earth are shown. We are weary of love that is barter, and of virtue that pines alone; We are out in the world with the masters: we are finding and claiming our own!

THE GRADUATES

I saw them beautiful, in fair array upon Commencement Day; Lissome and lovely, radiant and sweet As cultured roses, brought to their estate By careful training. Finished and complete (As teachers calculate).

They passed in maiden grace along the aisle, Leaving the chaste white sunlight of a smile Upon the gazing throng. Musing I thought upon their place as mothers of the race.

Oh there are many actors who can play Greatly, great parts; but rare indeed the soul Who can be great when cast for some small role; Yet that is what the world most needs; big hearts That will shine forth and glorify poor parts In this strange drama, Life! Do they, Who in full dress-rehearsal pass to-day Before admiring eyes, hold in their store Those fine high principles which keep old Earth From being only earth; and make men more Than just mere men? How will they prove their worth Of years of study? Will they walk abroad Decked with the plumage of dead bards of God, The glorious birds? And shall the lamb unborn Be slain on altars of their vanity? To some frail sister who has missed the way Will they give Christ's compassion, or man's scorn; And will clean manhood, linked with honest love, The victor prove, When riches, gained by greed, dispute the claim? Will they guard well a husband's home and name. Or lean down from their altitudes to hear The voice of flattery speak in the ear Those lying platitudes which men repeat To listening Self-Conceit? Musing I thought upon their place as mothers of the race, As beautiful they passed in maiden grace.

THE SILENT TRAGEDY

The deepest tragedies of life are not Put into books, or acted on the stage. Nay, they are lived in silence, by tense hearts In homes, among dull unperceiving kin, And thoughtless friends, who make a whip of words Wherewith to lash these hearts, and call it wit.

There is a tragedy lived everywhere In Christian lands, by an increasing horde Of women martyrs to our social laws. Women whose hearts cry out for motherhood; Women whose bosoms ache for little heads; Women God meant for mothers, but whose lives Have been restrained, restricted, and denied Their natural channels, till at last they stand Unmated and alone, by that sad sea Whose slow receding tide returns no more. Men meet great sorrows; but no man can grasp The depth, and height, of such a grief as this.

The call of Fatherhood is from man's brain. Man cannot know the answer to that call Save as a woman tells him. But to her The call of Motherhood is from the soul, The brain, the body. She is like a plant Which buds and blossoms only to bear fruit. Man is the pollen, carried by the wind Of accident, or impulse, or desire; And then his role of fatherhood is played. Her threefold knowledge of maternity, Through three times three great months, is hers alone.

Man as an egotist is wounded when He is not father. Woman when denied The all-embracing role of motherhood Rebels with her whole being. Oftentimes Rebellion finds its only utterance In shattered nerves, and lack of self-control; Which gives the merry world its chance to cry 'Old maids are queer.' In far off Eastern lands

They think of God as Mother to the race; Father and Mother of the Universe. And mayhap this is why they make their girls Wives prematurely, mothers over young, Hoping to please their Mother God this way. Since everywhere in Nature sex is shown For procreative uses, they contend Sterility is sinful. (Save when one Chooses a life of Saintship here on earth, And so conserves all forces to that end.)

Here in the West, our God is Masculine; And while we say He bade a Virgin bring His Son to birth, we think of Him as One Placing false values on forced continence - Preparing heavens for those who live that life - And hells for those who stray by thought or act From the unnatural path our laws have made.

Mother of Christ, thou being woman, thou Knowing all depths within the woman heart, All joy, all pain, oh send the world more light. Enlarge our sympathies; and let our minds Turn from achievements of material things To contemplation of Eternal truths. Space throbs with egos, waiting for rebirth; And mother-hearted women fill the earth. Mother of Christ, show us the way to thin The ranks of childless women, without sin.

THE TRINITY

Much may be done with the world we are in, Much with the race to better it; We can unfetter it, Free it from chains of the old traditions; Broaden its viewpoint of virtue and sin; Change its conditions Of labour and wealth; And open new roadways to knowledge and health. Yet some things ever must stay as they are While the sea has its tide and the sky has its star. A man and a woman with love between, Loyal and tender and true and clean, Nothing better has been or can be Than just those three.

Woman may alter the first great plan. Daughters and sisters and mothers May stalk with their brothers Forth from their homes into noisy places Fit (and fit only) for masculine man. Marring their graces With conflict and strife To widen the outlook of all human life. Yet some things ever must stay as they are While the sea has its tide and the sky has its star. A man and a woman with love that strengthens And gathers new force as its earth way lengthens; Nothing better by God is given This side of heaven.

Science may show us a wonderful vast Secret of life and of breeding it; Man by the heeding it Out of earth's chaos may bring a new order. Off with old systems, old laws may be cast. What now seems the border Of licence in creeds, May then be the centre of thoughts and of deeds. Yet some things ever must stay as they are While the sea has its tide and the sky has its star. A man and a woman and love undefiled And the look of the two in the face of a child, - Oh, the joys of this world have their changing ways, But this joy stays. Nothing better on earth can be Than just those three.

THE UNWED MOTHER TO THE WIFE


Poems of Purpose - 10/12

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