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Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt (1836-1919)

A Woman's Last Word


              1Promise me nothing. Men are mortal. I
              2    Loose from your heart my hand.
              3(The grave is deeper than the heavens are high.)
              4    My house of Love was builded on the sand.

              5Promise me nothing. That the heart will rain
              6    On eyes whose tears are done
              7And lips that will not kiss you back again
              8    For ever any more, I know, for one.

              9Promise me nothing. You but said "Till death,"
            10    Even with my wedding-ring.
            11Promise me nothing, lest with my last breath
            12    I make you promise only everything!

            13Promise me nothing. One day you will buy
            14    Another ring, you know.
            15Then, if the dead walk in their sleep, must I
            16    Come, shivering, back to say "I told you so"?

Notes

2] Loose ... my hand: free her hand (given to him at the marriage ceremony).

8] I know, for one: at least one, I myself, know this (that my lips will not return your kiss).

14] another ring: another wedding ring (to give a different woman, your second wife).


Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Palace–Burner: The Selected Poetry of Sarah Piatt (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2001): 144.
First publication date: 1895
Publication date note: Child's-World Ballads (1895).
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/4/15

Form: quatrains
Rhyme: abab


Other poems by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt