Marah of Shadowtown Anne Throop

The days pass by in Shadowtown
Wearily, wearily;--
And Bitter-Sweet Marah of Shadowtown
Sighs drearily, drearily.


"Mother, tell him to come to me
While my hair is gold and beautiful
And my lips and eyes are young
While the songs that are welling up in my heart
May still be sung.


"The days go by so wearily
Like crooked goblins, eërily,
Like silly shadows, fast and still,
Wind-driven and drearily.


"Like the gray clouds are my eyes gray, mother,
Like them, heavy as things grown old
Only the clouds' tears are but dream-tears--
Lifeless, cold.


"Last night I had the strangest dream,--
It seemed I stood on a barren hill
Where the wings of the ragged clouds went by
Hurrying and still.


"And all of a sudden the moon came out
Making a pathway over the down,--
And turned my hair to a gold mist, mother,
To light the way to Shadowtown.


"But when I did not see him coming,
And because the clouds grew dark and gray
I walked through the shadows down the hillside
To help him better to find the way.


"And in some wise I came to a forest
When all around was so strange and dim,--
That I thought, 'If I should be lost in the darkness,
How could my hair be light for him?'


"But groping, I found I was on a pathway
Where low soft branches swept my face,--
When suddenly, close beside, and before me
I knew dim forms kept even pace.


"They were so cowering, shivering, white
That I felt some ill thing came behind
And I heard a moan on the wind go by
'Ah, but the end of the path to find!'


"Then I looked behind, and saw that near
Like a wan marsh-fog, came a cloud
Hurrying on,--and I knew it wrapped
A dead love--as a shroud.


"And guiltily the figures went,
Like coward things in a guilty race
And not one dared to look behind
For fear he knew that dead love's face.


"Then suddenly at my side I knew
He I loved went;--but, for my hair,
Shadowed and blown about my face,
He knew me not beside him there.


"And he, too, cowered with shaking hands
Over his eyes, for fear to meet
Haunting and still, my pallid face
In that strange mist of winding-sheet.


"So on the shadowy figures went
Hurrying the loathéd cloud before,--
Seeking an end of a fated path
That went winding evermore.


"Oh, Mother, that path was hideous,--
Long and ill and hideous--
And the way was so near to Shadowtown,--
Fairer to Shadowtown--
But the gold of my hair shall not light the way
For anyone else to Shadowtown."


Gray-eyed Marah of Shadowtown
Turns away wearily, wearily
Weaving her gold hair back and forth,
Thus she sings, and drearily--
"Little Love, when you shall die, then so shall I,
Ha, merrily!


"Then let them put us in some deep spot
Where one the growing of trees' roots hears
And you at my heart, all wet with tears,
All wet with tears.


"Your wings are draggled and limp and wet,--Little Love,--
From what rainy land have you come, and far,--
Or who that has held you was crying so,--
Who, little Love--?
My eyes are heavy and wet with tears
Whose eyes besides are heavy so--?
--Oh, little Love, how dumb you are!--


"Then, poor Love, that has lived in my heart
Come, take my hand, we will go together,
Hemlock boughs are full of sleep
Out of the way of the weather.


"For a cavern of cold gray mist is my heart
Will not the hemlock boughs be better
Over our feet and under our heads
Keeping us from the weather?"


Her gold hair duskily glints in her hands
Marah of Shadowtown sings--"Together,--
You, little Love, and I, will go
Into the Land of Pleasanter Weather.