Crinoline Cage (for Caroline Norton 1808-1877)
To rise above the writhing crowd,
Above jealous-ridicule and shame
A voice held within shall overflow,
If not allowed to sing.
Push against the cold-cruel world,
With words that will inspire
The envy of the one you loved,
Your children he'll acquire...
Brace your weary heart with all your might,
As justice holds you to the floor
Never standing down the fight,
Man's law--- this and nothing more...
I dream of you in flowing gowns,
Those glorious days of yore
I think of you left all alone,
The heartache taking o'er.
I have not forgotten,
Your words spring up from the page
Your wisdom overflowing,
Like crepe o'er a crinoline cage...