Startling Poetry: The Maiden

The Maiden by Natan Alterman

She spun in silence a red thread,

Red as a pomegranate’s heart.

The king inside his chamber said:

“She spins me clothes to wear at court.”

 

She spun in silence a black thread,

That darkens day. Far from the king,

The thief locked up in prison said:

“She spins me clothes in which to hang.”

 

She spun in silence a gold thread,

A sword of lightning. On his way,

The harlequin pranced past and said:

“She spins me clothes in which to play.”

 

She spun in silence a grey thread,

The ancestor of all colors keep.

The beggar to his mongrel said:

“She spins me clothes in which to week.”

 

She rose, the colored threads she took,

And wove them all into a mesh,

And then she went to the brook,

And there she washed her perfect flesh.

 

And she put on the woven thing,

And was made beautiful forever:

And she since then is thief and king,

And harlequin and beggar.

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