A Man Must Live
I went to look for Love among the roses, the roses,
The pretty wingèd boy with the arrow and the bow;
In the fair and fragrant places,
’Mid the Muses and the Graces,
At the feet of Aphrodite, with the roses all aglow.
Then I sought among the shrines where the rosy flames were leaping—
The rose and golden flames, never ceasing, never still—
For the boy so fair and slender,
The imperious, the tender,
With the whole world moving slowly to the music of his will.
Sought, and found not for my seeking, till the sweet quest led me further,
And before me rose the temple, marble-based and gold above,
Where the long procession marches
’Neath the incense-clouded arches
In the world-compelling worship of the mighty God of Love.
Yea, I passed with bated breath to the holiest of holies,
And I lifted the great curtain from the Inmost,—the Most Fair,—
Eager for the joy of finding,
For the glory, beating, blinding,
Meeting but an empty darkness; darkness, silence—nothing there.
Where is Love? I cried in anguish, while the temple reeled and faded;
Where is Love?—for I must find him, I must know and understand!
Died the music and the laughter,
Flames and roses dying after,
And the curtain I was holding fell to ashes in my hand.
see Finding, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
“Sara’s stunning, heartbreaking, and relevant illustrations help to tell a difficult, haunting story. I will return to the story, as I do with all those stories I love, again and again.”
—Callie Feyen, teacher