A New Spinning Song

 The fillet needs another pearl, the hand another ring,
    (Turn, wheels, turn, dusk in the red young sun!)
What are little hearts that beat and little lips that sing?
    (Turn wheels, turn, whirl till our whim is won!)
Flesh and blood and dusky eyes, childish heart and gay,
These shall turn our wheels for us and wither through the day—
    (Turn, wheels, turn, dusk in the red young sun!)

The pinnace needs a swifter sail, the fortress needs a tower,
    (Turn, wheels, turn, bleak in the sultry noon!)
What if all the woods are green and all the fields in flower?
    (Turn, wheels, turn, stilling the youth-time soon!)
Children’s strength and children’s lives are fuel that we burn,
More shall come when these are gone to make our great wheels turn—
    (Turn, wheels, turn, bleak in the sultry noon!)

Leisure-time and mirth are dear, flesh and blood are cheap
    (Turn, wheels, turn, black in the hopeless night!)
What if children break or die the morns we smile in sleep?
    (Turn, wheels, turn, over the hearts once light!)
Spinning flesh to gold for us, spinning life for bread,
Spinning hope and strength and breath along the endless thread—
    (Turn, wheels, turn black in the hopeless night!)

More by Margaret Widdemer

To a Young Girl at a Window

The Poor Old Soul plods down the street,
        Contented, and forgetting
How Youth was wild, and Spring was wild
        And how her life is setting;

And you lean out to watch her there,
        And pity, nor remember,
That Youth is hard, and Life is hard,
        And quiet is December. 

If You Should Tire of Loving Me

If you should tire of loving me
Some one of our far days,
Oh, never start to hide your heart
Or cover thought with praise.

For every word you would not say
Be sure my heart has heard,
So go from me all silently
Without a kiss or word;

For God must give you happiness…
And oh, it may befall
In listening long to Heaven-song
I may not care at all!

Old Wine

If I could lift
    My heart but high enough
    My heart could fill with love:

But ah, my heart
    Too still and heavy stays
    Too brimming with old days.