Rose Terry Cooke




by Rose Terry Cooke

Patience? Yes, that's a woman's game;
The dull delight of solitude,
Where rank on rank she strives to frame,
And speech or laughter ne'er intrude.

Night after night, beside the fire,
When evening's lonely lamp is lit,
Oppressed with thought that vex and tire,
Among the cards her fingers flit.

The woman's game! On some poor king
The sequence of her play is built;
The queen comes after, hapless thing!
And next the knave with grinning guilt.

Then all her treasures, one by one,
Are thrown away to swell the pile,
The last and least: when that is done,
Begin again; the night beguile.

A woman's game; to sit and wait;
Build and rebuild, though fate destroy.
Shuffle the cards; for soon or late
There comes an end to grief and joy.

A man may fight, or sow, or reap,
Divide the seas, or traverse earth;
She can but drudge, or pray, or weep,
What are her life or loving worth?

She sits there when the day is dead,
Lonely and listless. Do you dare
Deny, when all is done and said,
That woman's game is solitaire?


Copyright 1888
William S. Gottsberger
11 Murray Street
New York