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Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

124. Widow McFarlane

I WAS the Widow McFarlane,

Weaver of carpets for all the village.

And I pity you still at the loom of life,

You who are singing to the shuttle

And lovingly watching the work of your hands,

If you reach the day of hate, of terrible truth.

For the cloth of life is woven, you know,

To a pattern hidden under the loom—

A pattern you never see!

And you weave high-hearted, singing, singing,

You guard the threads of love and friendship

For noble figures in gold and purple.

And long after other eyes can see

You have woven a moon-white strip of cloth,

You laugh in your strength, for Hope o’erlays it

With shapes of love and beauty.

The loom stops short! The pattern’s out!

You’re alone in the room! You have woven a shroud!

And hate of it lays you in it!