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(“Leave off your works, bride...”)

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Leave off your works, bride. Listen, the guest has come.
Do you hear, he is gently shaking the fastening chain of the door?
Let not your anklets be loud, and your steps be too hurried to meet him.
Leave off your works, bride, the guest has come, in the evening.

No, it is not the wind, bride. Do not be frightened.
It is the full-moon night of April, shadows are pale in the court-yard, the sky overhead is bright.
Draw your veil over your face if you must, take the lamp from your room if you fear.
No, it is not the wind, bride; do not be frightened.         

Have no word with him if you are shy, stand aside by the door when you meet him.
If he asks you questions, lower your eyes in silence, if you wish.
Do not let your bracelets jingle, when, lamp in hand, you lead him in.
Have no word with him if you are shy.

Have you not finished your works yet, bride? Listen, the guest has come.         
Have you not lit the lamp in the cowshed?
Have you not got ready the offering basket for the evening service?
Have you not put the auspicious red mark at the parting of your hair, and done your toilet for the night?
         O bride, do you hear, the guest has come?
         Have you not finished your works yet?


Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the June 1913 issue of Poetry magazine

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(“Leave off your works, bride...”)

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