Carlotta Perry

The Great Gulf

Side by side for so many years-
So close I hear her beating heart,
And yet our souls as far apart
As though we dwelt in different spheres.

Were seas between and leagues of land,
I could bear that with better grace;
But thus to look upon her face,
And thus to clasp and claim her hand

And know, though I would die for her,
That this is all I have; that far
From me as any shining star
Her heart is still a wanderer —

This is death’s pang; what though there rolls
Wide waves between your paths! A thought
Can span that sea, but there is naught
Can bridge the sea between two souls.

There is no evidence that Carlotta ever married, but her poetry is filled with wrenching love poems, some written from the male viewpoint, some from a female/female friendship view, and still others from that of romantic, traditional love relationships. One can only conjecture that Carlotta loved and lost, however that loss came about, in her life time.

What Do I Wish for You?

What do I wish for you? Such swift, keen pain
As though all griefs that human hearts have known
Were joined in one to wound and tear your own.
Such joy as though all heaven had come again

Into your earth, and tears that fall like rain,
And all the roses that have ever blown,
The sharpest thorn, the sceptre and the throne,
The truest liberty, the captive’s chain.

Cruel, you say? Alas! I’ve only prayed
Such fate for you as everywhere, above
All others, women wish,–that unafraid
They clasp in eager arms. So, little dove,
I give you to the hawk. Nay, nay, upbraid
Me not. Have you not longed for love?

And yet, Carlotta also wrote humorous poetry, often making kind-hearted fun of character flaws or character types of the day.

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