by Elinor Wylie (1885-1928)
By what appalling dim upheaval
Demolishing some kinder plan,
Did you become incarnate evil
Wearing the livery of man?
Perhaps you hated cheeks of tallow,
Dead eyes, and lineaments of chalk,
Until a beauty came to hallow
Even the bloodiest tomahawk.
Perhaps you loathed your brothers’ features
Pallid and pinched, or greasy-fat;
Perhaps you loved these alien creatures
Clean muscled as a panther cat.
Did you believe that being cruel
Was that which made their foreheads lift
So proudly, gave their eyes a jewel,
And turned their padding footsteps swift?
As one by one our faiths are shaken
Our hatreds fall; so mine for you.
Of course I think you were mistaken;
But still, I see your point of view.