The Ballad Of The Harp-weaver Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


Son said my motherA
When I was knee highB
you've need of clothes to cover youC
and not a rag have IB
There's nothing in the houseD
To make a boy breechesD
Nor shears to cut a cloth withE
Nor thread to take stitchesD
There's nothing in the houseD
But a loaf end of ryeB
And a harp with a woman's headF
Nobody will buyB
And she began to cryB
That was in the early fallG
When came the late fallG
Son she said the sight of youC
Makes your mother's blood crawl mdashH
Little skinny shoulder bladesD
Sticking through your clothesD
And where you'll get a jacket fromI
God above knowsD
It's lucky for me ladJ
Your daddy's in the groundK
And can't see the way I letL
His son go aroundK
And she made a queer soundK
That was in the late fallG
When the winter cameM
I'd not a pair of breechesD
Nor a shirt to my nameM
I couldn't go to schoolN
Or out of doors to playO
And all the other little boysD
Passed our wayO
Son said my motherA
Come climb into my lapP
And I'll chafe your little bonesD
While you take a napP
And oh but we were sillyQ
For half and hour or moreR
Me with my long legsD
Dragging on the floorR
A rock rock rockingS
To a mother goose rhymeT
Oh but we were happyQ
For half an hour's timeT
But there was I a great boyU
And what would folks sayO
To hear my mother singing meQ
To sleep all dayO
In such a daft wayO
Men say the winterA
Was bad that yearV
Fuel was scarceD
And food was dearV
A wind with a wolf's headF
Howled about our doorR
And we burned up the chairsD
And sat upon the floorR
All that was left usD
Was a chair we couldn't breakW
And the harp with a woman's headF
Nobody would takeW
For song or pity's sakeW
The night before ChristmasD
I cried with coldX
I cried myself to sleepY
Like a two year oldX
And in the deep nightZ
I felt my mother riseD
And stare down upon meQ
With love in her eyesD
I saw my mother sittingS
On the one good chairA2
A light falling on herA
From I couldn't tell whereA2
Looking nineteenB2
And not a day olderA
And the harp with a woman's headF
Leaned against her shoulderA
Her thin fingers movingS
In the thin tall stringsD
Were weav weav weavingS
Wonderful thingsD
Many bright threadsD
From where I couldn't seeQ
Were running through the harp stringsD
And gold threads whistlingS
Through my mother's handC2
I saw the web growD2
And the pattern expandC2
She wove a child's jacketE2
And when it was doneF2
She laid it on the floorR
And wove another oneF2
She wove a red cloakG2
So regal to seeQ
She's made it for a king's sonF2
I said and not for meQ
But I knew it was for meQ
She wove a pair of breechesQ
Quicker than thatH2
She wove a pair of bootsQ
And a little cocked hatH2
She wove a pair of mittensQ
Shw wove a little blouseQ
She wove all nightZ
In the still cold houseQ
She sang as she workedI2
And the harp strings spokeG2
Her voice never falteredJ2
And the thread never brokeG2
And when I awoke mdashH
There sat my motherA
With the harp against her shoulderA
Looking nineteeenF2
And not a day olderA
A smile about her lipsQ
And a light about her headF
And her hands in the harp stringsQ
Frozen deadF
And piled beside herA
And toppling to the skiesQ
Were the clothes of a king's sonF2
Just my sizeQ

Edna St. Vincent Millay


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