Life is so weary commonplace! Too fair
Were those young visions of the poet and seer.
Nothing exciting ever happens here.
Just eat and drink, and dress and chat;
Life is so tedious, slow, and flat,
And every day alike in everywhere!
Birth comes. Birth—
The breathing re-creation of the earth!
All earth, all sky, all God, life’s deep sweet whole,
Newborn again to each new soul!
“Oh, are you? What a shame! Too bad, my dear!
How well you stand it, too! It’s very queer
The dreadful trials women have to carry;
But you can’t always help it when you marry.
Oh, what a sweet layette! What lovely socks!
What an exquisite puff and powder box!
Who is your doctor? Yes, his skill’s immense—
But it’s a dreadful danger and expense!”
Love comes. Love—
And the world widens at the touch thereof;
Deepens and lightens till the answer true
To all life’s questions seems to glimmer through.
“Engaged? I knew it must be! What a ring!
Worth how much? Well, you are a lucky thing!
But how was Jack disposed of?” “Jack? Oh, he
Was just as glad as I was to be free.
You might as well ask after George and Joe
And all the fellows that I used to know!
I don’t inquire for his past Kate and Carry—
Every one’s pleased. It’s time, you know, to marry.”
Life comes. Life—
Bearing within it wisdom, work, and strife.
To do, to strive, to know, and, with the knowing,
To find life’s widest purpose in our growing.
“How are you, Jim? Pleasant weather to-day!
How’s business?” “Well, it doesn’t come my way.”
“Good-morning, Mrs. Smith! I hope you’re well!
Tell me the news!” “The news? There’s none to tell.
The cook has left; the baby’s got a tooth;
John has gone fishing to renew his youth.
House-cleaning’s due—or else we’ll have to move!
How sweet you are in that! Good-bye, my love!”
Death comes. Death—
Love cries to love, and no man answereth.
Death the beginning, Death the endless end,
Life’s proof and first condition, Birth’s best friend.
“Yes, it’s a dreadful loss! No coming back!
Never again! How do I look in black?
And then he suffered so! Oh, yes, we all
Are well provided for. You’re kind to call,
And Mrs. Green has lost her baby too!
Dear me! How sad! And yet what could they do?
With such a hard time as they have, you know,—
No doubt ’t was better for the child to go!”
Life is so dreary commonplace. We bear
One dull yoke, in the country or the town.
We’re born, grow up, marry, and settle down.
I used to think—but then a man must live!
The Fates dole out the weary years they give,
And every day alike in everywhere.
The Classic by Charlotte Perkins Gilman—Now a Graphic Novel!
“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