A Woman’s Question

Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing

Even 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 bars 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 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 this soft young cheek one day;

Will you love me then ’mind the falling leaves,

As you did ’mong the blossoms of May?

Is your heart an ocean so strong and true,

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.