[Editor: This poem by Ambrose Pratt was published in The Bulletin Reciter, 1901.]
The Woman Speaks.
So you think because I ’m a woman
I was made but for pleasure and tears —
You ! who smile and sneer at the sex I claim
With the savoir-faire of your forty years.
Ah, yes ! I ’m a woman, and human, too
I can laugh and weep, and — pity me ! — love.
That ’s the part of me made for the play of man.
Man ! No, thanks, I can manage my glove.
We shall meet to-night at the dance, perhaps ;
You ’ll see me flirting behind my fan,
With arms a-gleam and shoulders bared
To the critical gaze of men, O man !
And you ’ll come to me claiming a waltz, perhaps ;
I ’ll grant your wish with a grateful smile ;
And your arm will clasp me a moment or two,
And we shall be lovers a little while.
But O, the thought that my smiles suppress
(For I am strong, quite strong, O man !)
The measuring, searching, judging thoughts
That I hide as only a woman can !
I ’m only a woman, whose passionate heart
Is made for laughter, and tears, and love, —
And that is for men ; but soul and brain
I keep for myself and the gods above.
A.G. Stephens (editor). The Bulletin Reciter: A Collection of Verses for Recitation from “The Bulletin” [1880-1901], The Bulletin Newspaper Company, Sydney, 1902 [first published 1901], page 83