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A poem by Josephine Preston Peabody

And Thou, Wayfaring Woman, Whom I Meet

Title:     And Thou, Wayfaring Woman, Whom I Meet
Author: Josephine Preston Peabody [More Titles by Peabody]

And thou, Wayfaring Woman, whom I meet
On all the highways,--every brimming street,
Lady Demeter, is it thou, grown gaunt
With work and want?
At last, and with what shamed and stricken eyes,
I see through thy disguise
Of drudge and Exile,--even the holy boon
That silvers yonder in the Harvest-moon;--
That dimly under glows
The furrows of thy worn immortal face,
With mother-grace.

O Queen and Burden-bearer, what of those
To whom thou gavest the lily and the rose
Of thy far youth?... For whom,
Out of the wondrous loom
Of thine enduring body, thou didst make
Garments of beauty, cunningly adorned,
But only for Death's sake!
Largess of life, but to lie waste and scorned.--
Could not such cost of pain,
Nor daily utmost of thy toil prevail?--
But they must fade, and pale,
And wither from thy desolated throne?--
And still no Summer give thee back again
Thine own?

Lady of Sorrows,--Mother,--Drudge august.
Behold me in the dust.

[The end]
Josephine Preston Peabody's poem: And Thou, Wayfaring Woman, Whom I Meet