Poem: The Shrew by E. Dyson

I've taken one into my home,
   And have enthroned her there.
She faithful is, and will not roam:
   She holds me in her care.
She holds me with a tyrant hand,
   I yield unto her will;
And soft the grass grows on the strand,
   The light sits on the hill,
And swift the cloud rides o'er the lea;
But I may not go forth to see.

She's tall and strong, her brow is white,
   And cruel her grey eye;
She holds me down by day and night,
   And swift my fingers ply.
But should I venture to the door
   To look upon the sun,
She fiercely calls me back once more
   To work what's never done,
And bitter is her tongue alway
If I should pause to dream to play.

One time her hands aside I flung,
   And lay where rivers drowse,
And saw the crimson birds that hung
   Like jewels in the boughs,
Where lithe girl children leapt along
   The sward in tuneful game;
But came she searching in the throng
   To fill my heart with shame,
With dog and whip to nag and scold,
And once more herd me in the fold.

At length I am her ironed slave,
   And in the pool of ink
My soul subservient I lave,
   And in the gas-lamp's blink
I sun myself, for ever she
   Is brooding at the door,
And turns to gibe and spit at me
   Should I respite implore.
The fiercest of the tribe of shrews
He has who's mated with a Muse.

First published in The Bulletin, 8 April 1920

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