You who adore the ladies with such praise,
Their hearts to gladden, their esteem to raise,
Why waste your words on many a woman,
Knowing that none can ever be a man?
‘Tis written in their faces like a text;
‘We are the fairer and fouler sex.’
The ‘priceless virtues’ are too scarce to meet,
The ‘priced vices’ roam around the street;
Many jewels are inestimable,
Many ladies are unfathomable;
No doubt you are the better by a mile,
Peerless and matchless in destructive guile!
Of ideas, in your scheming minds, no dearth,
On how to enlist – or entrap – a heart;
In various shapes and manners you destroy:
Wantonly wild or coquettishly coy.
O, you once bright and sparkling jewels, how
Lessened and tarnished, and lustreless now!
We find in modern woman – girl or wife –
The tragic remains of a moral life.
Rather than heap praise on all female kinds,
Heap praise on those with bodies, and with minds.
Those like Griselda, patient, true and good
Still score eternal marks for womanhood.
These to their parents, the delights of age;
And to their spouse, the cure for manly rage;
And to their peers, true models bright to view;
And to themselves, sincere and ever true.
Their fair but feeble frames are clothed aright,
Not displayed, naked, for the wanton sight.
No fruitless pomp or artificial shows
But beauty robed in modesty which glows.
They show no affectation or feigned graces
But sincere smiles always adorn their faces.
They put on no expensive lace or airs
Nor bankrupt their spouse with demands and cares.
They know nature, they obey nature’s laws;
Nor lust, nor swallow with voracious jaws.
These women, if there are, deserve my praise,
And for these women still my pen I raise!.
NOTE: this poem is intended as half-satiric, half-serious, half-parody of patriarchal attitudes to women. In no way does it WHOLLY represent the author’s view on the subject.
meet the poet: Emmanuel Oluwaseun Dairo
I am a member of the WRR editorial team.