All that a man is

All that a man is or has is for himself,
it seems, his grace and strength
to him alone belong
the symmetry of line across a cheek
somehow is tied singly to him,
exists for his pleasure, pride,
or secret despair alone

But all that is the sum of her
exists for others rather than herself
there is no mine allowed in her
all form and grace, all beauty
flourished or withheld
is either a trophy proclaimed
or a sin against the world.

©  1985 J.L.Stanley