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Poem: Penelope at Her Loom

The fine linen thread runs through your fingers
as you wind it round your shuttle
slow as you dare.

Wife of a clever man,
you are that man's clever wife
as you play them one off another.

You have few allies left -
most call you obstinate,
holding on to a dream.

The thread though,
spun fine and strong by your own hands
It is your ally.

Do you think of him,
with his curly hair and broad shoulders
and how he felt against your body,

As you stand at the loom by daylight,
passing the shuttle through the warp
weaving a shroud.

Do you think of him,
of how his lips felt against your skin
how he tasted of sweat and wine and love,

As you stand at the loom by lamplight
untangling the thread as much as you dare
buying him time.

Wife of a clever man,
you are that man's clever wife.
The time you buy him will be just enough.

----
(in case you forgot, Penelope is the wife of Odysseus.  While Odysseus was languishing on Calypso's island, his wife Penelope was being pressured into declaring him dead and marrying another, and a crowd of young suitors, eager to wed what they think is a rich widow, crowds her house daily.  One day, she declares that she will choose after she has woven the shroud for Odysseus' father. Each day, she works on it, each night she unravels part of it. Eventually found out, she has to finish the weaving, but shortly thereafter, Odysseus returns to take care of those people despoiling his house.)

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