a woman’s a woman for all that

by William Hunter Maxwell

Image: Mary L. Martin, Ltd.
Image: Mary L. Martin, Ltd.

Women grow different with the years,
Old Father Time will tell you so.
They string along with the cup that cheers,
And hate the modes of long ago.

Oh, yes, they smoke and drink a lot.
Some like to be thin, but few like fat.
And even though hard knocks they’ve got,
A woman’s a woman for all that.

They love to go to a baseball game,
You’ll find ’em at the ring-side too.
In many things their taste’s the same
As the men who see them through.

Some of them dress just like a man,
Sport a cane and wear a soft hat;
They even talk base when they can.
Still, a woman’s a woman for all that.

In every sport you’ll find her name;
They row, they drive, they conquer the air.
In law and medicine they’re not lame,
And in the pulpit they’re more than fair.

They can gamble, they can swear,
And still knock a fresh man flat.
The ballot is theirs most everywhere.
Still, a woman’s a woman for all that.

They’ve got men eating out of their hands;
In many places, they’re cock o’ the walk.
Big business and trade, woman understands,
And thoroughly knows her salesman’s talk.

Upon the heels of man, she’s steadily treading;
Both his shoulders are near on the mat.
But no matter now, which way she’s heading,
A woman’s a woman for all that.

Among Maxwell’s papers at the New Jersey Historical Society is a manuscript of this poem, showing the concluding stanza’s “Both his shoulders are near on the mat” altered to read “In the political ring, she flings her hat.” We give the text as printed in Maxwell’s 1937 volume The Life to Live and Other Plainpoems.

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