In This Our World
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Verse
3:34 h
Level 9
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, also known by her first married name Charlotte Perkins Stetson, was an American humanist, novelist, writer, lecturer, advocate for social reform, and eugenicist. She was a utopian feminist and served as a role model for future generations of feminists because of her unorthodox concepts and lifestyle. In This Our World is an 1893 collection of poems. Gilman's first book was Art Gems for the Home and Fireside (1888); however, it was her first volume of poetry, In This Our World (1893), a collection of satirical poems, that first brought her recognition. During the next two decades she gained much of her fame with lectures on women's issues, ethics, labor, human rights, and social reform.

In This Our World

by
Charlotte Perkins Gilman


WOULD YE BUT UNDERSTAND!
JOY IS ON EVERY HAND!
YE SHUT YOUR EYES AND CALL IT NIGHT,
YE GROPE AND FALL IN SEAS OF LIGHT —
WOULD YE BUT UNDERSTAND.


The World

Birth

Lord, I am born!
I have built me a body
Whose ways are all open,
Whose currents run free,
From the life that is thine
Flowing ever within me,
To the life that is mine
Flowing outward through me.

I am clothed, and my raiment
Fits smooth to the spirit,
The soul moves unhindered,
The body is free;
And the thought that my body
Falls short of expressing,
In texture and color
Unfoldeth on me.

I am housed, O my Father!
My body is sheltered,
My spirit has room
’Twixt the whole world and me,
I am guarded with beauty and strength,
And within it
Is room for still union,
And birth floweth free.

And the union and birth
Of the house, ever growing,
Have built me a city —
Have born me a state —
Where I live manifold,
Many-voiced, many-hearted,
Never dead, never weary,
And oh! never parted!
The life of The Human,
So subtle — so great!

Lord, I am born!
From inmost to outmost
The ways are all open,
The currents run free,
From thy voice in my soul
To my joy in the people —
I thank thee, O God,
For this body thou gavest,
Which enfoldeth the earth —
Is enfolded by thee!


Nature’s Answer

I

A man would build a house, and found a place
As fair as any on the earth’s fair face:

Soft hills, dark woods, smooth meadows richly green,
And cool tree-shaded lakes the hills between.

He built his house within this pleasant land,
A stately white-porched house, long years to stand;