Lady Wife

A poem by David Herbert Lawrence

Ah yes, I know you well, a sojourner
At the hearth;
I know right well the marriage ring you wear,
And what it's worth.

The angels came to Abraham, and they stayed
In his house awhile;
So you to mine, I imagine; yes, happily
Condescend to be vile.

I see you all the time, you bird-blithe, lovely
Angel in disguise.
I see right well how I ought to be grateful,
Smitten with reverent surprise.

Listen, I have no use
For so rare a visit;
Mine is a common devil's
Requisite.

Rise up and go, I have no use for you
And your blithe, glad mien.
No angels here, for me no goddesses,
Nor any Queen.

Put ashes on your head, put sackcloth on
And learn to serve.
You have fed me with your sweetness, now I am sick,
As I deserve.

Queens, ladies, angels, women rare,
I have had enough.
Put sackcloth on, be crowned with powdery ash,
Be common stuff.

And serve now woman, serve, as a woman should,
Implicitly.
Since I must serve and struggle with the imminent
Mystery.

Serve then, I tell you, add your strength to mine
Take on this doom.
What are you by yourself, do you think, and what
The mere fruit of your womb?

What is the fruit of your womb then, you mother, you queen,
When it falls to the ground?
Is it more than the apples of Sodom you scorn so, the men
Who abound?

Bring forth the sons of your womb then, and put them
Into the fire
Of Sodom that covers the earth; bring them forth
From the womb of your precious desire.

You woman most holy, you mother, you being beyond
Question or diminution,
Add yourself up, and your seed, to the nought
Of your last solution.

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