Introduction

The poem “Any Woman” presents the all-embracing power of a woman to hold a family together.

About the Poet

Katharine Tynan (1859-1931) is an Irish-born writer known mainly for her novels and poetry. She has to her credit more than a score of novels and seven books of verse. She usually wrote under the name Katharine Tynan Hinkson. Her human sympathy is keen, tender, warm, and constant. 

Theme

The poem celebrates the significance of women in a family and how they keep the family together.

Stanza I and II

I am the pillars of the house;
The keystone of the arch am I.
Take me away, and roof and wall
Would fall to ruin me utterly.

I am the fire upon the hearth,
I am the light of the good sun,
I am the heat that warms the earth,
Which else were colder than a stone.

Women are the ones holding the house together, preventing it from collapsing. They are the pillars that hold the house high and the keystone to the arch. They provide warmth to whoever seeks it. They radiate light and warm the earth that would otherwise be cold and unpleasant.

Stanza III and IV

At me the children warm their hands;
I am their light of love alive.
Without me cold the hearthstone stands,
Nor could the precious children thrive.

I am the twist that holds together
The children in its sacred ring,
Their knot of love, from whose close tether
No lost child goes a-wandering.

Children most often tend to approach women to seek comfort. They like to play with them and grow under their care. There is no love like a mother’s love and under her care, no child loses his way. No matter how old, a child will always want his mother to counsel and comfort him. She is the knot that lovingly binds everyone together.

Stanza V and VI

I am the house from floor to roof,
I deck the walls, the board I spread;
I spin the curtains, warp and woof,
And shake the down to be their bed.


I am their wall against all danger,
Their door against the wind and snow,
Thou whom a woman laid in a manger,
Take me not till the children grow!

A woman is described as being the house, she is indeed a home, where everyone finds comfort and peace. She is a force to be reckoned with. She is the protector, a wall that shields the family from all perils. The poem ends with the mother praying to Jesus to keep her alive till the children grow.