To Louise Michel

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To Louise Michel

By Edwin Markham

I cannot take your road, Louise Michel,
Priestess of Pity and of Vengeance — no:
Down that amorphous gulf I cannot go —
That gulf of Anarchy whose pit is Hell.
Yet, sister, though my first word is farewell,
Remember that I know your hidden woe;
Have felt the grief that rends you blow on blow;
Have knelt beside you in the murky cell.
You never followed hate (let this atone)
Nor knew the wrongs of others from your own:
Wild was the road, but Love has always led,
So I am silent where I cannot praise;
And here now at the parting of the ways,
I lay a still hand lightly on your head.



  • Edwin Markham, "To Louise Michel," The Man with the Hoe (New York: Doubleday and McClure, 1899): 65.