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A Year’s Spinning by Elizabeth Barrett Browning


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.

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.

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.

I thought—O ***!—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.

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

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.”

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.