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One of Dunbar-Nelson's most famous poems is "I Sit and Sew," which is a poem that is well known because it explores the position of women during war time as they have to sit back at home and engage in various domestic tasks that are useless, whilst thinking about their menfolk and the danger that they face on the battlefield. The poem is written from the perspective of a woman who desires nothing more than to go and help the soldiers and tend to their needs, but because of her position as a woman, and the way that society viewed women at the time, she has to face her own entrapment in the domestic sphere, and do nothing more than "sit and sew." Note how the frustration of the speaker is expressed in the second stanza:
I sit and sew—my heart aches with desire—That pageant terrible, that fiercely pouring fireOn wasted fields, and writhing grotesque thingsOnce men. My soul in pity flingsAppealing cries, yearning only to goThere in that holocaust of hell, those fields of woe—But—I must sit and sew.
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