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Karle Wilson Baker: Pronouns

O God, You said,
“Say, ‘We’”;
But I shook my head,
Hid my hands tight behind my back, and said,
Stubbornly,
“I.”
Again You said,
“Say, ‘We’”;
But I looked upon them, grimy and all awry.
Myself in those twisted shapes? Ah, no!
Distastefully I turned my head away,
Persisting,
“They.”
Again You said,
“Say, ‘We’”;
And I
At last,
Richer by a hoard
Of years,
Looked in their eyes and found the heavy word
That bent my neck and bowed my head:
Like a shamed school child then I mumbled low,
“We, O God.”

Karle Wilson Baker (1878–1960), a writer from Texas, became one of the most famous poets in the South through the publication of her poems in national journals like Yale Review, Atlantic Monthly, and Harper’s. During the years 1914-1920, she was the most frequent contributor to the Yale Review.

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