Nameless Pain

By Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard 1823–1902
I should be happy with my lot:
A wife and mother – is it not
Enough for me to be content?
What other blessing could be sent?

A quiet house, and homely ways,
That make each day like other days;
I only see Time’s shadow now
Darken the hair on baby’s brow!

No world’s work ever comes to me,
No beggar brings his misery;
I have no power, no healing art
With bruised soul or broken heart.

I read the poets of the age,
’Tis lotus-eating in a cage;
I study Art, but Art is dead
To one who clamors to be fed

With milk from Nature’s rugged breast,
Who longs for Labor’s lusty rest.
O foolish wish! I still should pine
If nay other lot were mine.

Source: She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (University of Iowa Press, 1997)

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Poet Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard 1823–1902

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Relationships, Home Life, Activities, Jobs & Working, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

Biography

Poet, fiction writer, and essayist Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard was born and raised in Mattapoisset, Massachusetts. The daughter of a shipbuilder, Stoddard was educated at Wheaton Female Seminary. She married poet Richard Stoddard in 1851 and together they had three children, two of whom died as infants. The Stoddards’ New York City home was a gathering place for local poets, and Elizabeth began to submit her own poetry, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Home Life, Activities, Jobs & Working, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries, Gender & Sexuality

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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