'SEPARATION WITHOUT DIVORCE'

If it be true, as wise men say,
That all of us were beasts one day:
Then I am sure I was, indeed,
A weary, hungry, homing steed,
And you the dog that threatened danger
Beside the hay-filled manger.

You were the type of woman who gives a man the dare,
And I was only human and Spring was in the air.
Life in its mating season and youth with its lack of reason,
And oh, your eyes, your hair!

Our bridal morn was glory which faded all too soon,
Life was another story ere set our honeymoon.
The eyes that dared now told me you did not care to hold me
Before our day reached noon.

You followed your own pleasure, with no regard for mine;
You poured out meagre measure of love's delicious wine.
And when you saw me leaving, of sorrow and of grieving
You gave no smallest sign.

And yet to balk and bind me is your ambition now,
Lest joy and peace should find me with freedom from my vow:
The vows by love once spoken in sight of God are broken
When love is dead, I trow.

And yet you will not free me from bondage that is pain;
And you delight to see me walk fettered by your chain.
And though you do not want me, your pleasure is to taunt me
That all my hopes are vain.

Poems of affection. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1920.


Back to Poem Index