Ruth Guthrie Harding
At The Old Ladies' Home
THERE in a row of chairs upon the porch
I saw them, women alien from the world,
Set in a niche to watch the world go by:
A few, born saints . . . but some had outworn sin;
Sisters at last, from having done with life.
Here Joan of Arc, grown past her soldier-dream,
And Mariamne, spared her Herod's wrath,
Forgetting Herod, gossiped for an hour;
While calm Francesca, once knowing Paolo's love,
Sat knitting peaceful in the noonday sun,
And Nicolette, with Aucassin long gone,
Made painful writing with a wrinkled hand.
'Ah, let me die,' I ...