Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SONG OF THE SLATTERN, by HERBERT KAUFMAN



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THE SONG OF THE SLATTERN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I sing me a song of the sloven
Last Line: As she erred, so will many another fool err.
Subject(s): Love - Loss Of; Self-pity; Solitude; Women; Loneliness


I SING me a song of the sloven,
Of the woman who has no pride,
Who does not care
If her raiment bear
A stain or a spot or a snag or a tear;
Nor blush to be caught in the morning glare
With run-down heel and with towsled hair—
With plenty of time but with none to spare
For little attentions to keep her fair
In the eyes of the man who found her rare
And wholesome ere
Her charm and her freshness died.

She twists her locks in a frowzy knot;
Her dressing gown bears a great grease clot,
The rip in the back of her sacque she's forgot;
There's a stain on her skirt and an ugly hole
In the heel of her stocking, and one in the sole
Of both her slippers, that plainly show
The need of rejection at each worn toe.

There are empty shelves in her lone book-case;
She makes no effort to keep in pace,
As her husband steadily climbs to place,
Nor stirs herself to a single grace;
With never a fear 'gainst the time he'll find,
How slothful and narrow and dull's her mind;
No thought gives she to the subtle arts,
That stoke the fires within men's hearts.

She stands stock-still while his world speeds on,
Till at last she is simply a pricking thorn
In his side. All the rose that she was is gone;
By her hands alone are his visions torn—
The softening veils that affection wrought,
To keep her the sweetheart and wife that he sought,—
Herself she must thank that his dream is wrecked
For men lose love when they lose respect.

I sing me a song of the slattern,
Of the woman who sits alone,
Who had her day and who threw away
Her chances, when beauty and wit could play,
Who lazed and who lounged and who did not stir
A finger to add to the charm of her,
Who would not of lotions and unguents and myrrh—
The story's not new and anew 't will occur;
As she erred, so will many another fool err.





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