Elizabeth Barrett Browning

(6 March 1806 – 29 June 1861 / Durham / England)

A Year's Spinning


1
He listened at the porch that day,
To hear the wheel go on, and on;
And then it stopped, ran back away,
While through the door he brought the sun:
But now my spinning is all done.

2
He sat beside me, with an oath
That love ne'er ended, once begun;
I smiled--believing for us both,
What was the truth for only one:
And now my spinning is all done.

3
My mother cursed me that I heard
A young man's wooing as I spun:
Thanks, cruel mother, for that word--
For I have, since, a harder known!
And now my spinning is all done.

4
I thought--O God!--my first-born's cry
Both voices to mine ear would drown:
I listened in mine agony--
It was the silence made me groan!
And now my spinning is all done.

5
Bury me 'twixt my mother's grave,
(Who cursed me on her death-bed lone)
And my dead baby's (God it save!)
Who, not to bless me, would not moan.
And now my spinning is all done.

6
A stone upon my heart and head,
But no name written on the stone!
Sweet neighbours, whisper low instead,
"This sinner was a loving one--
And now her spinning is all done."

7
And let the door ajar remain,
In case he should pass by anon;
And leave the wheel out very plain,--
That HE, when passing in the sun,
May see the spinning is all done.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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