Vox Populi

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Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard: Nameless Pain

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 any other lot were mine.

Public domain

Poet, fiction writer, and essayist Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard was born and raised in Mattapoisset, Massachusetts. 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, fiction, and social commentary to journals. From 1854 to 1858, Stoddard contributed a bimonthly column to the San Francisco newspaper Daily Alta California. Stoddard wrote three novels and many short stories, essays, children’s tales, and poems. The Morgesons (1862) is her best known work. A female bildungsroman, the novel traces the quest of a young woman in search of self-definition and autonomy. The novel comments upon the oppression of women in mid-nineteenth-century New England and challenges the religious and social norms of the time period. Uncommon for her time, her essays and fiction often question the conventions of gender roles and is rooted in an unsentimental, irreverent realism. Her poetry, gathered in Poems (1895), often examines a fragile domestic realm. (source: Poetry Foundation, Wiki).

Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard, 1823–1902 (Source: Wiki)

3 comments on “Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard: Nameless Pain

  1. Johanna Ely
    May 12, 2023

    The poems, etc. are not showing up on my screen.I wonder why!?  Johanna


    • Vox Populi
      May 12, 2023

      I apologize, Johanna. There’s a glitch in the platform. I’m working on the problem, and I’m sure it will eventually be solved. In the meantime, if you click on the title of the post, you will go to the website where the poems appear in their entirety. Thank you for being patient while I work on this problem



      Liked by 1 person

      • Johanna Ely
        May 12, 2023

        Hi Michael,
        Thank you for your response. I am patient. Thanks for all you do.



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