The promise of the Tree pounding in your breast
Tongue of the snake soft upon your cheek,
You reached for unseen death and gave the fruit to man.
So men have said– In you all women are
Innocent as a girl in awe of the first dawn
Saying its color over roses
Again and again, and softly to herself.
From you a strength bolder than Joan whom men damned
But gods praise, wisdom of Elizabeth
Who gave no man her crown, purity of Calcutta’s Mother
Too busy with the poor to stop for more than begging–
Jezebel, Salome, Antoinette
They also fell from you, but what deed compares
To this your greatest gift, the feeble and the weak
Asleep in your arms, you, our highest hope and dream
Bearing both of our sorrow and our joy, Mother of Man
There is nothing, no one so vile, contemptible
You cannot love– Ocean ever rising
O woman we rise in you, each of us one wave upon another
Rising up, rolling in, returning to you.