To The Indifferent Women

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You who are happy in a thousand homes,Or overworked therein, to a dumb peace;Whose souls are wholly centered in the lifeOf that small group you personally love;Who told you that you need not know or careAbout the sin and sorrow of the world?

Do you believe the sorrow of the worldDoes not concern you in your little homes? --That you are licensed to avoid the careAnd toil for human progress, human peace,And the enlargement of our power of loveUntil it covers every field of life?

The one first duty of all human lifeIs to promote the progress of the worldIn righteousness, in wisdom, truth and love;And you ignore it, hidden in your homes,Content to keep them in uncertain peace,Content to leave all else without your care.

Yet you are mothers! And a mother's careIs the first step toward friendly human life.Life where all nations in untroubled peaceUnite to raise the standard of the worldAnd make the happiness we seek in homesSpread everywhere in strong and fruitful love.

You are content to keep that mighty loveIn its first steps forever; the crude careOf animals for mate and young and homes,Instead of pouring it abroad in life,Its mighty current feeding all the worldTill every human child can grow in peace.

You cannot keep your small domestic peaceYour little pool of undeveloped love,While the neglected, starved, unmothered worldStruggles and fights for lack of mother's care,And its tempestuous, bitter, broken lifeBeats in upon you in your selfish homes.

We all may have our homes in joy and peaceWhen woman's life, in its rich power of loveIs joined with man's to care for all the world.

© Gilman Charlotte Anna Perkins