The Path on the Rainbow, edited by George W. Cronyn, , at sacred-texts.com
Yes—my mother wept, watching me weave for thee…
And I have wept, too, a little.
Strange, that pain came with love;
I knew it not until thy father sought me.
Yet—what woman would cast love out?
Gladly in the dusk I waited him—
None told me, not my mother even, of the pang.
So my heart, joyous, sounded a song of drums,
Beating the loud wild march for his swift-trampling feet.
The breasts of love were as the eaves of a house,
Jutting through the red mists and the dusk of ending day,
Calling the hunter to enter to his rest.
The door trembled with strange winds—
He circled my house with the arms of strength,
And took me with weapons…Joy?
Ay. Yet I cried from the depths with a sudden deep cry,
At dawn—it is our custom—I went forth alone
Into the mists that wrap the sleeping cedars
And droop to the pale unwakened sea.
Alone on the dawn's white rim I gathered cedar-boughs.
My tears fell, shining among the earth's bright drops;
For now I knew
Why the maiden plaits a whip of cedar-fibre,
To give into her husband's hand on her marriage-day.
Once I asked my father—it seemed so strange
A maid should weave and weave a rod for her own sorrow.
He laughed and said: "It is our custom; ay, an old custom—
I know not if it means aught now,
Or ever did have meaning."
My mother sat near. Ay, I have remembered that she spoke not;
But, silently, in the shadow of his body, drooped her head.
Ay, ’tis old, the custom,
Old as earth is old;
Ancient as passion,
Pitiless as passion—
Ay, pitiless, pitiless, the earth-way for women!
Bitter it is, as the taste of bright sea-water,
That he, who takes the gift, and wields our weaving of desire,
Knows not the meaning of the gift—nor can know ever!
Into the heedless hand of passion
We yield our power-of-pain…
It is the law of the earth-way.
So it is with birth-giving.
Aii-he! the mightier pang,
The mightier loving!
Sleepest thou, little Fatling?
Ay, thou didst long drink at my breast—
(But hast not drained it of love.)
Cedar, Cedar, carefully
Guard my little brown cone
On thy earth-bending branch.
Little life-bud on the bough!
Sleep, sleep, thou drowsy one—
Thou art guarded well.
Ay, rock, rock, safely, safely, little Man-Child—
A woman watches thee.