De profundis


Nature – so easily forgot!
My Soul – so easily belied!
The triviality of what
And who we really are, to hide.

I feel it even in my skin.
And so with care my face I wear
That even I can’t feel within
The heavy burden that I bear:

That as a woman, I am all
That he desires, and nothing more,
Seems to demand I build a wall
Against myself, against my core.

It seems to me much better then
Forever sexless to abstain
Than to be thus desired by men
Who want to put me on a chain.

If I could just forget the calm
Of being loved and owned and kept!
– That certainly would be a balm
For all the tears that I have wept.

I feel so foolish in this steel
And so ashamed to play his game.
I feel so foolish, when I feel
How good it feels to be so tame.

These stupid shackles are His toys
– And so am I, I am his toy
– What fools we are to please the boys,
to be their happiness and joy!

I am his “slave” – or so he says –
And must be punished and obey.
I do not know what game he plays,
If it is one I wish to play.

I see a smile upon his face,
When like a shackled beast I lie.
I only know these are the ways
Of human males – but never why.

I need that smile I know so well.
That loving triumph that I see,
Though I am locked within my cell!
And so I never can be free.

So here I am! The steel is cold,
I am alone – and yet is he,
As by each padlock I am told,
So very, very near to me.

And like a serpent slithering
A tingling old delight I sense
That had so long been withering
In bartering and sore pretence.

Come, playful god! and wrap your chain
Around my soul so cleverly
That I may never flee again
The only thing that makes me free!