Populace and press declared the man not fit
To be called human. The story she told,
The poor broken wife, her child six years old
At her side, scarred by the merciless blows,
Was bruited abroad, as the wild wind goes
In every crevice.
In her room alone,
A beautiful woman read through the case,
Rose, went to the window, parted the lace
Whose delicate meshes caught the sunlight
In tiny tangles of pale silken glare,__
Too rude its pure strength for the lady there;
A pampered lady, she.
Unseeing, she looked out upon her world
That still slept, though the sun had unfurled
His glory six hours before. Her lips
Were locked hard, as when thin bitterness drips
From something made long ago to be sweet.
Unseeing, her eyes wandered to the street
Sacred to riches.
And she said, aloud,
"He beat her with his hands,__struck and kicked her
Here at this end of the street, we prefer
To strike with the tongue. I bear no bruises,
But I've been struck and struck till my heart is dead
Not all blows stain the flesh," the lady said,
And turned from the window
And the world outside, whose judgments are sure,
Envied the lady, and pitied "that poor
Abused woman," cursing the wretch who beat
Her body. And in an elegant suite
Of club rooms a man lolled at ease that day,
Smoking and boasting the hours away,
And in the public Ward
Fanny Smith's maimed body lay soothed, embalmed
In soft, wet things, like an anguish becalmed
In God's silence. And in a prison cell
A man crouched and cursed, his foul, fear-rid eyes
Agape at hell with a fool's wide surprise;
Is God in His heaven?
Is all right with His world?
__Hannah Rea Woodman.
Poems by Hannah Rea Woodman
(Poughkeepsie, N.Y.: A. V. Haight & Company. 1909)