“…your hair was bound and wound
About the stars and moon and sun::—W.B. Yeats
“We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;” —W.B. Yeats
He was away at war, another one
it seemed to happen again and again.
Was it glory, she wondered, or was it fun?
Would he return from battle, if so, when?
And what would happen when it was all done?
Though common worries, this time she’d had a dream
that he was wounded, or no, that he was killed
she woke with a scream, so true it seemed
for all their hopes dashed, left now unfulfilled.
She begged the goddess to spare his life,
and swore in return she’d cut her hair–
for her husband, as his wife,
she’d shear the strands that shone golden in the sunlit air
that flowed like waves of honeyed wheat
a glory recalled by all who saw it there
tumbling to her feet.
Then when her husband returned unharmed and well,
she kept her vow and left her hair at Aphrodite’s altar,
her husband pondered the story she had to tell
and that she never had faltered
and both were first bewildered, then enthralled
to find up in the sky
installed in a constellation
(though unsure why)
her hair swirled and flowed, unbound and wound
in glittering strands of riotous celebration
there far above the smiling moon, a shining crown
a tribute to her sacrifice, done without any hesitation–
though that was not the end of course
of war or force, nor of remorse
for pain and dying
yet still the stars keep flying,
and we, marvel at their beauty, keep sighing.