19th Century Women's Poetry

Lucy White Jennison (1850-?)

Born in Newton, MA, Lucy White received a substantial education in Boston. She lived in Italy for several years around the turn of the century, probably because of her marriage. Like many women writers, she used a male pseudonym ("Owen Innsley"); the usual reasons were for anonymity and to avoid the pressures surrounding women writers, especially single women, but pseudonyms were also often used because they allowed women freer range of topics. White Jennison published numerous poems in periodicals, and Love Poems and Sonnets appeared in 1882.

The Burden of Love
I bear an unseen burden constantly;
Waking or sleeping I can never thrust
The load aside; through summer's head and dust
And winter's snows it still abides with me.
I cannot let it fall, though I should be
Never so weary; carry it I must.
Nor can the bands that bind it on me rust
Or break, nor ever shall I be set free.
Sometimes 't is heavy as the weight that bore
Atlas on giant shoulders; sometimes light
As the frail message of the carrier dove;
But, light or heavy, shifting nevermore.
What is it thus oppressing, day and night?
The burden, dearest, of a mighty love.