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An Ancient Gesture

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Written by Edna St Vincent Millay

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 I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron:
Penelope did this too.
And more than once: you can't keep weaving all day And undoing it all through the night; Your arms get tired, and the back of your neck gets tight; And along towards morning, when you think it will never be light, And your husband has been gone, and you don't know where, for years.
Suddenly you burst into tears; There is simply nothing else to do.
And I thought, as I wiped my eyes on the corner of my apron: This is an ancient gesture, authentic, antique, In the very best tradition, classic, Greek; Ulysses did this too.
But only as a gesture,—a gesture which implied To the assembled throng that he was much too moved to speak.
He learned it from Penelope.
.
.
Penelope, who really cried.


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