A WOMAN’S QUESTION

 

Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing

Ever made by the Hand above?

A woman’s heart, and a woman’s life—

And a woman’s wonderful love.

 

Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing

As a child might ask for a toy?

Demanding what others have died to win,

With the reckless dash of a boy.

 

You have written my lesson of duty out;

Manlike, you have questioned me.

Now stand at the bar of my woman’s soul

Until I shall question thee.

 

You require your mutton shall always be hot,

Your socks and your shirt be whole;

I require your heart to be true as God’s stars

And as pure as His heaven your soul.

 

You require a cook for your mutton and beef,

I require a far greater thing;

A seamstress you’re wanting for socks and shirts—

I look for a man and a king.

 

A king for the beautiful realm called Home,

And a man that his Maker, God,

Shall look upon as He did on the first

And say: “It is very good.”

 

I am fair and young, but the rose may fade

From my soft young cheek one day;

Will you love me then ‘mid the falling leaves,

As you did ‘mong the blossoms of May?

 

Is your heart an ocean so strong and deep,

I may launch my all on its tide?

A loving woman finds heaven or hell

On the day she is made a bride.

 

I require all things that are grand and true,

All things that a man should be;

If you give this all, I would stake my life

To be all you demand of me.

 

If you cannot be this, a laundress and cook

You can hire and little to pay;

But a woman’s heart and a woman’s life

Are not to be won that way!

~Lena Lathrop