Danielle Baker


Writing Event #4

Step 1:

Sincerely the Virgins, of the 17th century

What speak of thee to tell us how

We go about our loveliness

Who asks of thee who expects us now

To go with simple carelessness.

Have you not stepped to label us so

With forms like that of roses

When in your divine chair you even go

To make a claim of pleasantness.

Good sir, you ask such a thing

That which only those with clothed eyes see

To throw away fine reason, C'est la vie!

As if it is a simple thing to grasp and marry.

You claim we work where no roses bloom

Our skirts dirty, pockets heavy with their emptiness

Fool of a man, who reveals only your gloom

And your species great incompetence.

Step 2:

This is a response to Robert Herrick's "To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time". The poem was written during the 17th century and followed the themes of Cest la vie, Latin for 'seize the day'. I wanted to approach this response from the point of view of "the virgins". In this century, women had to be hard workers for the New World and other developing ideas in New England and Europe, but marriage was still a huge "responsibility". I wanted to write from the point of view of a woman from the same time period who would be offended by such a simple and well-meant poem coming from a man because she sees it as fear of their growing independence, or something that would stump that growth. This narrator has lost patience with men and society telling her one thing and expecting many other things all at once. I thought it would be more mocking to mirror Herrick's style and kept his rhyme scheme. I do think women outside of the century would respond differently as this is not a typical reaction to the piece. There's a lot I think the poem could do and say, a lot that may be overreacting and misinterpreting Herrick's message, but I believe the humor of it would draw popularity and express some things people wouldn't normally consider like the historical backgrounds of women Herrick might have been addressing and whether they would really be so quick to ooh and aah over his suggestion to "gather ye rosebuds".