Woman's Wounds

He that I loved most, wounds me. — Veronica Gambara

She that I most desire to love wounds me.

In quiet life, the cruelest wounds a man
Must suffer, those that burn his heart with grief
And eyes with tears are dealt by woman’s hand.
She is not always vamp or tramp or thief.
She does not always hurt him out of spite,
But through a word unspoken or courtesy
Not undertaken, though he hoped she might
Requite the tokens of his heart’s decree.
What hand shall heal these wounds? What hand shall stem
The pain, the desperate longing, hidden ache?
Another woman’s hand may succor him,
And in his heart new hope and reverence make.
But the hand that soonest makes the wounds to close
Is the hand of she who dealt the grievous blows.

George Chadderdon 2005