Hymn for the Woman

THE good, the liar, and the thief,
The idiot incompetent,
The nobly made and nobly meant,
The weak and childish past belief,
All cause of every prayer and curse —
Of all the sorrows I may nurse,
Of mortal sorrows this is chief:
To bear them dark, with pride astute,
Across the world until their day,
Then pausing for a time to lay
Upon the earth the living brute —
Some of them men and some like me
Formed for that innocent treachery
By which is living absolute.
Then taken by my own desire,
By some word deeper than my speech,
I strive across a gulf to reach
The good, the robber, and the liar,
And bring into the world again
From passion, ugliness, and pain,
The patterns that our hearts require.
There seems no pause to my embrace;
I clasp more fiercely than a tomb
The men or devils in my womb.
From looking later on their face
I turn to harbor on my breast
A devil or a man at best
And one the other may displace.
I support and bear so much
That when I walk in softest spring
And know each warmer hour will bring
Another birth, I envy such
A bland awaking of the ground
Where life is made without a sound
And love unfolds without a touch.
But T am most immaculate
Of any creature under sky
And they shall never ask me why,
Nor how I treasure and translate
The bewildered broken words of men
Who may through me speak out again
More passionate and compassionate.