Women’s Rights by Annie Louisa Walker
You cannot rob us of the rights we cherish,
Nor turn our thoughts away
From the bright picture of a “Woman’s Mission”
Our hearts portray.
We claim to dwell, in quiet and seclusion,
Beneath the household roof,–
From the great world’s harsh strife, and jarring voices,
To stand aloof;–
Not in a dreamy and inane abstraction
To sleep our life away,
But, gathering up the brightness of home sunshine,
To deck our way.
As humble plants by country hedgerows growing,
That treasure up the rain,
And yield in odours, ere the day’s declining,
The gift again;
So let us, unobtrusive and unnoticed,
But happy none the less,
Be privileged to fill the air around us
To live, unknown beyond the cherished circle,
Which we can bless and aid;
To die, and not a heart that does not love us
Know where we’re laid.
Like Men and Women Shadows walk by Emily Dickinson
Like Men and Women Shadows walk
Upon the Hills Today —
With here and there a mighty Bow
Or trailing Courtesy
To Neighbors doubtless of their own
Not quickened to perceive
Minuter landscape as Ourselves
And Boroughs where we live —
This too will pass by Grace Noll Crowell
This too will pass. O heart, say it over and over – out of your deepest sorrow, out of your deepest grief, no hurt can last forever – perhaps tomorrow will bring relief.
This too will pass. It will spend itself – its fury will die as the wind dies down with the setting sun; assuaged and calm, you will rest again, forgetting a thing that is done.
Repeat it again and again, O heart, for your comfort; this, too, will pass as surely as passed before the old forgotten pain, and the other sorrows that once you bore.
As certain as stars at night, or dawn after darkness, inherent as the lift of the blowing grass, whatever your despair or frustration – this, too, will pass!
Women by Louise Bogan
Women have no wilderness in them,
They are provident instead,
Content in the tight hot cell of their hearts
To eat dusty bread.
They do not see cattle cropping red winter grass,
They do not hear
Snow water going down under culverts
Shallow and clear.
They wait, when they should turn to journeys,
They stiffen, when they should bend.
They use against themselves that benevolence
To which no man is friend.
They cannot think of so many crops to a field
Or of clean wood cleft by an axe.
Their love is an eager meaninglessness
Too tense or too lax.
They hear in any whisper that speaks to them
A shout and a cry.
As like as not, when they take life over their door-sill
They should let it go by.
The Laughter Of Women by Lisel Mueller
The laughter of women sets fire
to the Halls of Injustice
and the false evidence burns
to a beautiful white lightness
It rattles the Chambers of Congress
and forces the windows wide open
so the fatuous speeches can fly out
The laughter of women wipes the mist
from the spectacles of the old;
it infects them with a happy flu
and they laugh as if they were young again
Prisoners held in underground cells
imagine that they see daylight
when they remember the laughter of women
It runs across water that divides,
and reconciles two unfriendly shores
like flares that signal the news to each other
What a language it is, the laughter of women,
high-flying and subversive.
Long before law and scripture
we heard the laughter, we understood freedom.