Young Woman

Naked before the glass she said,
“I see my body as no man has,
Nor any shall unless I wed
And naked in a stranger’s house
Stand timid beside his bed.
There is no pity in the flesh.”

“Or else I shall grow old,” she said,
“Alone, and change my likeliness
For a vile, slack shape, a head
Shriveled with thinking wickedness
Against the day I must be dead
And eaten by my crabbed wish.”

“One or the other way,” she said,
“How shall I know the difference,
When wrinkles come, to spinster or bride?
Whether to marry or burn is bless-
ed best, O stranger to my bed,
There is no pity in the flesh.”

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