Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
XXV. Bitter Remembrance
To his Mother, C. L. M.
By John Masefield (1878–1967)
 
IN the dark womb where I began
My mother’s life made me a man.
Through all the months of human birth
Her beauty fed my common earth.
I cannot see, nor breathe, nor stir,        5
But through the death of some of her.
 
Down in the darkness of the grave
She cannot see the life she gave.
For all her love, she cannot tell
Whether I use it ill or well,        10
Nor knock at dusty doors to find
Her beauty dusty in the mind.
 
If the grave’s gates could be undone,
She would not know her little son,
I am so grown. If we should meet,        15
She would pass by me in the street,
Unless my soul’s face let her see
My sense of what she did for me.
 
What have I done to keep in mind
My debt to her and womankind?        20
What woman’s happier life repays
Her for those months of wretched days?
For all my mouthless body leech’d
Ere Birth’s releasing hell was reach’d?
 
What have I done, or tried, or said        25
In thanks to that dear woman dead?
Men triumph over women still,
Men trample women’s rights at will,
And man’s lust roves the world untamed.
*        *        *        *        *
O grave, keep shut lest I be shamed!        30
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors