Women By Louise Bogan

Women have no wilderness in them,   
They are provident instead,   
Content in the tight hot cell of their hearts   
To eat dusty bread.   

They do not see cattle cropping red winter grass,   
They do not hear   
Snow water going down under culverts   
Shallow and clear.   

They wait, when they should turn to journeys,   
They stiffen, when they should bend.   
They use against themselves that benevolence   
To which no man is friend.   

They cannot think of so many crops to a field   
Or of clean wood cleft by an axe.   
Their love is an eager meaninglessness   
Too tense, or too lax.   

They hear in every whisper that speaks to them   
A shout and a cry.   
As like as not, when they take life over their door-sills   
They should let it go by.
Source: Body of this Death: Poems (1923)

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