The Women of the Novels of Henry James and Edith Wharton

Dowagers empowered are ready for a bout

They tower through the hours, titanic and quite stout

With clout and no doubt, they’re proud in their redoubt

They’ll devour, you’ll cower, and perhaps peevishly pout


They declaim on their fame and what they might attain

The height of Christian rectitude they always do maintain

They wear the grandest gowns with a flowing frilly train

Their upper lips are always stiff, though balls can be a drain


“Oh what a strain,” “she’s to blame,” “why must you prate”

With such incisive wit they pontificate, orate

Intelligence comes naturally to an old money estate

Good breeding has preserved their triumphal, regal trait


The caviar on their plate may fail to satiate

No matter how palatial it tends to jar and grate

But such is the destiny and predetermined fate

Of brilliant blistering women that these novelists gestate


Copyright, David Gottfried, 2007


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