Women

By May Swenson 1913–1989 May Swenson
Women                                 Or they
   should be                              should be
      pedestals                              little horses
         moving                                 those wooden
            pedestals                              sweet
               moving                                 oldfashioned
                  to the                                    painted
                     motions                                 rocking
                        of men                                  horses

                        the gladdest things in the toyroom

                           The                                       feelingly
                        pegs                                     and then
                     of their                                 unfeelingly
                  ears                                     To be
               so familiar                            joyfully
            and dear                               ridden
         to the trusting                      rockingly
      fists                                    ridden until
   To be chafed                        the restored

egos dismount and the legs stride away

Immobile                            willing
   sweetlipped                         to be set
      sturdy                                 into motion
         and smiling                         Women
            women                                 should be
               should always                        pedestals
                  be waiting                              to men

May Swenson, “Women” from New and Selected Things Taking Place (Boston: Atlantic/Little Brown, 1978). Copyright © 1978 by May Swenson. Reprinted with the permission of The Literary Estate of May Swenson.

Source: New and Selected Things Taking Place (Little Brown and Company, 1978)

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Poet May Swenson 1913–1989

Subjects Gender & Sexuality, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Concrete or Pattern Poetry

 May  Swenson

Biography

During her prolific career, May Swenson received numerous literary awards and nominations for her poetry. Often experimental in both form and appearance, her poems earned her widespread critical acclaim. As Priscilla Long commented in the Women's Review of Books, "Swenson was a visionary poet, a prodigious observer of the fragile and miraculous natural world."

Swenson's poetry has been praised for its imagery, which is . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Gender & Sexuality, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Concrete or Pattern Poetry

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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