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.