Now let no charitable hope
Confuse my mind with images
Of eagle and of antelope:
I am by nature none of these.
I was, being human, born alone;
I am, being woman, hard beset;
I live by squeezing from a stone
What little nourishment I get.
In masks outrageous and austere
The years go by in single file;
But none has merited my fear,
And none has quite escaped my smile.
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