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.