“A Woman’s Question” – Lena Lathrop

Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing
Ever made by the Hand above?
A woman’s heart, 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 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 this 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 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