(written 9/88; Webbed 10/96)

Sarah braiding hair,

crossing silken strands,

weaving all the threads of burnished gold;

gentle, expert hands

moving locks with care.

Suzy thinks of tales that Sarah's told:

tales of foreign lands,

heroes who are brave and also bold,

magic in the air,

spinning wheels that turn the flax to gold,

outlaw robber bands,

Little Folk so fair...

Summer evening air is growing cold.

Wealth beyond compare

waits on desert sands.

Sarah tugs on hair,

offers Suzy's hand a hand to hold;

smoothing dress, she stands.

Leaving now, the pair

think of distant lands;

all the stories that may yet unfold.


I wrote this in the “Metrical Phonology of Poetry” linguistics seminar at Swarthmore. Wanted to play with a braiding rhyme scheme, decided to make the form fit the content. The original version had all lines the same length, but a couple of lines were a little squished in that form. And one of the other students pointed out that when you’re braiding hair, one of the strands always comes out longer than the others.