C.L.M.

John Masefield 1878 (Ledbury) – 1967 (Abingdon)



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,
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,
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
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?
What woman's happier life repays
Her for those months of wretched days?
For all my mouthless body leeched
Ere Birth's releasing hell was reached?
  
What have I done, or tried, or said
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.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

Modified on March 19, 2023

1:07 min read
133

Quick analysis:

Scheme AABBCC DDEEFF GGHHII FFJJFX KKLLF X
Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,054
Words 219
Stanzas 7
Stanza Lengths 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 1, 1

John Masefield

John Edward Masefield, OM was an English poet and writer, and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death in 1967. He is remembered as the author of the classic children's novels The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights, and poems, including "The Everlasting Mercy" and "Sea-Fever". more…

All John Masefield poems | John Masefield Books

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