Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman

(1860-1935 / the United States)

Reassurance - Poem by Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman

Can you imagine nothing better, brother,
Than that which you have always had before?
Have you been so content with 'wife and mother,'
You dare hope nothing more?

Have you forever prized her, praised her, sung her,
The happy queen of a most happy reign?
Never dishonored her, despised her, flung her
Derision and disdain?

Go ask the literature of all the ages!
Books that were written before women read!
Pagan and Christian, satirists and sages–
Read what the world has said.

There was no power on earth to bid you slacken
The generous hand that painted her disgrace!
There was no shame on earth too black to blacken
That much-praised woman-face.

Eve and Pandora!–always you begin it–
The ancients called her Sin and Shame and Death.
'There is no evil without woman in it,'
The modern proverb saith.

She has been yours in uttermost possession–
Your slave, your mother, your well-chosen bride–
And you have owned in million-fold confession,
You were not satisfied.

Peace then! Fear not the coming woman, brother.
Owning herself, she giveth all the more.
She shall be better woman, wife and mother,
Than man hath known before.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010



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