The Affinity by Anna Wickham (1884 – 1947)

I have to thank God I’m a woman,

For in these ordered days a woman only

Is free to be very hungry, very lonely.

 

It is sad for Feminism, but still clear 

That man, more often than woman, is pioneer.

If I would confide a new thought,

First to a man must it be brought.

 

Now, for our sins, it is my bitter fate

That such a man wills soon to be my mate,

And so of friendship is quick end:

When I have gained a love I lose a friend.

 

It is well within the order of things

That man should listen when his mate sings;

But the true male never yet walked

Who liked to listen when his mate talked.

 

I would be married to a full man,

As would all women since the world began;

But from a wealth of living I have proved

I must be silent, if I would be loved.

 

Now of my silence I have much wealth,

I have to do my thinking all by stealth.

My thoughts may never see the day;

My mind is like a catacomb where early Christians pray.

 

And of my silence I have much pain,

But of these pangs I have great gain;

For I must take to drugs or drink,

Or I must write the things I think.

 

If my sex would let me speak,

I would be very lazy and most weak;

I should speak only, and the things I spoke

Would fill the air awhile, and clear like smoke.

 

The things I think now I write down,

And some day I will show them to the Town.

When I am sad I make thought clear;

I can re-read it all next year.

 

I have to thank God I’m a woman,

For in these ordered days a woman only

Is free to be very hungry, very lonely.

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