Anna Akhmatova | |
Hail! Hail to thee, o, immovable pain!
The young grey-eyed king had been yesterday slain.
This autumnal evening was stuffy and red.
My husband, returning, had quietly said,
"He'd left for his hunting; they carried him home;
They'd found him under the old oak's dome.
I pity the queen.
He, so young, past away!.
During one night her black hair turned to grey.
He found his pipe on a warm fire-place,
And quietly left for his usual race.
Now my daughter will wake up and rise --
Mother will look in her dear grey eyes.
And poplars by windows rustle as sing,
"Never again will you see your young king.
I send nor balms nor cor'sives to your wound:
Your fate hath found
A gentler and more agile hand to tend
The cure of that which is but corporal; 5
And doubtful days which were named critical
Have made their fairest flight
And now are out of sight.
Yet doth some wholesome physic for the mind
Wrapp'd in this paper lie 10
Which in the taking if you misapply
You are unkind.
Your covetous hand
Happy in that fair honour it hath gain'd
Must now be rein'd.
True valour doth her own renown command
In one full action; nor have you now more
To do than be a husband of that store.
Think but how dear you bought
This fame which you have caught: 20
Such thoughts will make you more in love with truth.
'Tis wisdom and that high
For men to use their fortune reverently
Even in youth.
Anne Kingsmill Finch | |
This is to the crown and blessing of my life,
The much loved husband of a happy wife;
To him whose constant passion found the art
To win a stubborn and ungrateful heart,
And to the world by tenderest proof discovers
They err, who say that husbands can't be lovers.
With such return of passion, as is due,
Daphnis I love, Daphinis my thoughts pursue;
Daphnis, my hopes and joys are bounded all in you.
Even I, for Daphnis' and my promise' sake,
What I in woman censure, undertake.
But this from love, not vanity proceeds;
You know who writes, and I who 'tis that reads.
Judge not my passion by my want of skill:
Many love well, though they express it ill;
And I your censure could with pleasure bear,
Would you but soon return, and speak it here.
William Henry Davies | |
They lived apart for three long years,
Bill Barnes and Nell his wife;
He took his joy from other girls,
She led a wicked life.
Yet ofttimes she would pass his shop,
With some strange man awhile;
And, looking, meet her husband's frown
With her malicious smile.
Until one day, when passing there,
She saw her man had gone;
And when she saw the empty shop,
She fell down with a moan.
And when she heard that he had gone
Five thousand miles away;
And that she's see his face no more,
She sickened from that day.
To see his face was health and life,
And when it was denied,
She could not eat, and broke her heart --
It was for love she died.
Algernon Charles Swinburne | |
It does not hurt.
She looked along the knife
Smiling, and watched the thick drops mix and run
Down the sheer blade; not that which had been done
Could hurt the sweet sense of the Roman wife,
But that which was to do yet ere the strife
Could end for each for ever, and the sun:
Nor was the palm yet nor was peace yet won
While pain had power upon her husband's life.
It does not hurt, Italia.
Thou art more
Than bride to bridegroom; how shalt thou not take
The gift love's blood has reddened for thy sake?
Was not thy lifeblood given for us before?
And if love's heartblood can avail thy need,
And thou not die, how should it hurt indeed?
Lady Mary Chudleigh | |
WIFE and servant are the same,
But only differ in the name :
For when that fatal knot is ty'd,
Which nothing, nothing can divide :
When she the word obey has said,
And man by law supreme has made,
Then all that's kind is laid aside,
And nothing left but state and pride :
Fierce as an eastern prince he grows,
And all his innate rigour shows :
Then but to look, to laugh, or speak,
Will the nuptial contract break.
Like mutes, she signs alone must make,
And never any freedom take :
But still be govern'd by a nod,
And fear her husband as a God :
Him still must serve, him still obey,
And nothing act, and nothing say,
But what her haughty lord thinks fit,
Who with the power, has all the wit.
Then shun, oh ! shun that wretched state,
And all the fawning flatt'rers hate :
Value yourselves, and men despise :
You must be proud, if you'll be wise.
Walter de la Mare | |
Over the fence, the dead settle in
for a journey.
You are alone for the first time
A beer bottle sweats in your hand,
and sea lavender clogs the air
Think of yourself.
Your arms rest with nothing to do
after weeks spent attending to others.
Your thoughts turn to whether
butter will last the week, how much
longer the car can run on its partial tank of gas.
I had a little husband no bigger than my thumb,
I put him in a pint pot, and there I bid him drum,
I bought a little handkerchief to wipe his little nose,
And a pair of little garters to tie his little hose.
There was an old woman in Surrey,
Who was morn, noon, and night in a hurry;
Called her husband a fool,
Drove the children to school,
The worrying old woman of Surrey.
Ben Jonson | |
? ON SIR VOLUPTUOUS BEAST.
While BEAST instructs his fair and innocent wife,
In the past pleasures of his sensual life,
Telling the motions of each petticoat,
And how his Ganymede mov'd, and how his goat,
And now her hourly her own cucquean makes,
In varied shapes, which for his lust she takes :
What doth he else, but say, Leave to be chaste,
Just wife, and, to change me, make woman's haste.
Ganymede, in Greek mythology, a beautiful shepherd boy
with whom Zeus fell in love.
[Cuckold + queen], a woman whose
husband is unfaithful to her.
Edna St Vincent Millay | |
I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:
Penelope did this too.
And more than once: you can't keep weaving all day
And undoing it all through the night;
Your arms get tired, and the back of your neck gets tight;
And along towards morning, when you think it will never be light,
And your husband has been gone, and you don't know where, for years.
Suddenly you burst into tears;
There is simply nothing else to do.
And I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:
This is an ancient gesture, authentic, antique,
In the very best tradition, classic, Greek;
Ulysses did this too.
But only as a gesture,—a gesture which implied
To the assembled throng that he was much too moved to speak.
He learned it from Penelope.
Penelope, who really cried.
Carolyn Kizer | |
The stout poet tiptoes
On the lawn.
In his thick sweater
Like a middle-age burglar.
Is the young robin injured?
She bends to feed the geese
Revealing the neck’s white curve
Below her curled hair.
Her husband seems not to watch,
But she shimmers in his poem.
A hush is on the house,
The only noise, a fern,
Rustling in a vase.
On the porch, the fierce poet
Is chanting words to himself.
Mercy Otis Warren | |
Modest! Polite! Genteel! Heavens what deceit
Dwells in the breast of those I termed grat!
But now too late, my shame and grief appear.
I'm lost! Undone! Stopped short in my career.
A barn my dwelling, paltry fish my food,
With insuylts, scorn, and execrations lewd.
Oh sad disgrace! But this is not the worst.
I'm by my husband and my daughter cursed.
Our Bashaw, to, forever in a tease,
Vents his dire spleen on us, poor refugees.
Accursed state, from towering hopes I've fell,
To her with transports and such devils dwell.
One tear my injured country week for me,
And for that tear, may you be ever free.
William Carlos (WCW) Williams | |
At ten AM the young housewife
moves about in negligee behind
the wooden walls of her husband's house.
I pass solitary in my car.
Then again she comes to the curb
to call the ice-man, fish-man, and stands
shy, uncorseted, tucking in
stray ends of hair, and I compare her
to a fallen leaf.
The noiseless wheels of my car
rush with a crackling sound over
dried leaves as I bow and pass smiling.
William Carlos (WCW) Williams | |
Sorrow is my own yard
where the new grass
flames as it has flamed
often before but not
with the cold fire
that closes round me this year.
I lived with my husband.
The plumtree is white today
with masses of flowers.
Masses of flowers
load the cherry branches
and color some bushes
yellow and some red
but the grief in my heart
is stronger than they
for though they were my joy
formerly, today I notice them
and turn away forgetting.
Today my son told me
that in the meadows,
at the edge of the heavy woods
in the distance, he saw
trees of white flowers.
I feel that I would like
to go there
and fall into those flowers
and sink into the marsh near them.
Walt Whitman | |
I SIT and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all oppression and shame;
I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at anguish with themselves, remorseful after
I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children, dying, neglected, gaunt,
I see the wife misused by her husband—I see the treacherous seducer of young women;
I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love, attempted to be hid—I see these
I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny—I see martyrs and prisoners;
I observe a famine at sea—I observe the sailors casting lots who shall be
preserve the lives of the rest;
I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant persons upon laborers, the poor,
negroes, and the like;
All these—All the meanness and agony without end, I sitting, look out upon,
See, hear, and am silent.
Walt Whitman | |
LET us twain walk aside from the rest;
Now we are together privately, do you discard ceremony,
Come! vouchsafe to me what has yet been vouchsafed to none—Tell me the whole story,
Tell me what you would not tell your brother, wife, husband, or physician.
Walt Whitman | |
AMONG the men and women, the multitude,
I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs,
Acknowledging none else—not parent, wife, husband, brother, child, any nearer than I
Some are baffled—But that one is not—that one knows me.
Ah, lover and perfect equal!
I meant that you should discover me so, by my faint indirections;
And I, when I meet you, mean to discover you by the like in you.
Walt Whitman | |
AND now, gentlemen,
A word I give to remain in your memories and minds,
As base, and finale too, for all metaphysics.
(So, to the students, the old professor,
At the close of his crowded course.
Having studied the new and antique, the Greek and Germanic systems,
Kant having studied and stated—Fichte and Schelling and Hegel,
Stated the lore of Plato—and Socrates, greater than Plato,
And greater than Socrates sought and stated—Christ divine having studied long,
I see reminiscent to-day those Greek and Germanic systems,
See the philosophies all—Christian churches and tenets see,
Yet underneath Socrates clearly see—and underneath Christ the divine I see,
The dear love of man for his comrade—the attraction of friend to friend,
Of the well-married husband and wife—of children and parents,
Of city for city, and land for land.
Louise Gluck | |
Speak to me, aching heart: what
Ridiculous errand are you inventing for yourself
Weeping in the dark garage
With your sack of garbage: it is not your job
To take out the garbage, it is your job
To empty the dishwasher.
You are showing off
Exactly as you did in childhood--where
Is your sporting side, your famous
Ironic detachment? A little moonlight hits
The broken window, a little summer moonlight,
Murmurs from the earth with its ready
Is this the way you communicate
With your husband, not answering
When he calls, or is this the way the heart
Behaves when it grieves: it wants to be
Alone with the garbage? If I were you,
I'd think ahead.
After fifteen years,
His voice could be getting tired; some night
If you don't answer, someone else will answer.