To Madame Curie

By Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson 1875–1935
Oft have I thrilled at deeds of high emprise,
And yearned to venture into realms unknown,
Thrice blessed she, I deemed, whom God had shown
How to achieve great deeds in woman’s guise.
Yet what discov’ry by expectant eyes
Of foreign shores, could vision half the throne
Full gained by her, whose power fully grown
Exceeds the conquerors of th’ uncharted skies?
So would I be this woman whom the world
Avows its benefactor; nobler far,
Than Sybil, Joan, Sappho, or Egypt’s queen.
In the alembic forged her shafts and hurled
At pain, diseases, waging a humane war;
Greater than this achievement, none, I ween.

NOTES: from The Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 21, 1921

Source: The Works of Alice Dunbar-Nelson Volume 2 The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers (Oxford University Press, 1988)

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Poet Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson 1875–1935

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Sciences, Heroes & Patriotism, Gender & Sexuality

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson

Biography

Poet, essayist, diarist, and activist Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to mixed-race parents. Her African American, Anglo, Native American, and Creole heritage contributed to her complex understandings of gender, race, and ethnicity, subjects she often addressed in her work. Her first book, Violets and Other Tales (1895), was published when she was just 20. A writer of short stories, essays, and . . .

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SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Sciences, Heroes & Patriotism, Gender & Sexuality

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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