The Waiting Woman

A bards-song from Layor.

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Photo credit: Unsplash  (Pixabay)



 

Father, my father, oh say it’s not so
Must you go off to war?
The fields need a-sowing and the sheep need a-shearing
Stay and see summer once more

My father, he strapped his sword to his back
and he rode over hill and glen
I watched and I watched, and I cried and I cried
But I never saw his face again

What can I do but wait and wait
What can I do, I say
For I’m just a small woman and my heart is full
of sorrow, of sorrow, oh-ay

Brother, my brother, oh say it’s not so
Must you go off to war?
The roof needs a-mending and the fields need a-reaping
Stay and see winter once more

My brother, he strapped his axe to his back
and he walked over hill and glen
I watched and I watched, and I cried and I cried
But I never saw his face again

What can I do but wait and wait
What can I do, I say
For I’m just a small woman and my heart is full
of sorrow, of sorrow, oh-ay

Lover, my lover, oh say it’s not so
Must you go off to war?
Stay and be married and I’ll carry your babies
Kiss me, oh kiss me once more

My lover, he strapped his bow to his back
and he walked over hill and glen
I watched and I watched, and I cried and I cried
But I never saw his face again

What can I do but wait and wait
What can I do, I say
For I’m just a small woman and my heart is full
of sorrow, of sorrow, oh-ay

Mother, my mother, oh give me a prayer
For I must go off to war
I’ll take my knife and what’s left of my life
to avenge all our men gone before

The way it was hard and the way it was long
and worse for a woman by half
Each night I fell but each morn I arose
with the ghosts of our men at my back

What can I do but strive and strive
What can I do, I say
For I’m just a small woman, and my heart is full
of anger, of anger, oh-ay

Oh the general was huge, and the general was fierce
And he held half the world in his hand
He growled like a tiger and he clawed like a bear
but he was, after all, just a man

So I gave him a smile and I gave him a wink
Then I gave him my dagger, three times
Once for my father and once for my brother
and once for the man who was mine

What can I do, but laugh and laugh
What can I do after this
For I’m just a small woman, but my heart is full
and stronger, yes stronger than his

What can I do, but laugh and laugh
What can I do ’til I die
For I’m just a small woman, but my heart is full
and vengeance, sweet vengeance is mine



This is the full version of the song quoted in the earlier story, Chink in His Armor.  I’ve been trying to figure out how to load the audio file of me singing it (which I can’t do unless I pay for WordPress) or to create a video that’s just audio plus an image (which I can’t seem to Movie Maker to do, even though it says it works with wma files).   If anyone else has suggestions for how else to do this, I’m open to them.  For now, here are the lyrics.

World culture notes: Scholars believe that the original song only included the first three verses, and reflected the realistic experience of most women in war-torn Layor, staying home to keep the farms running as their menfolk left and never returned. The last two verses of the woman fighting back were added later, when Layoran culture was influenced by their new leaders (or subjugators, depending on who you ask) after becoming part of the more gender-neutral Pyanni Empire.



 

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7 thoughts on “The Waiting Woman

  1. Wow very cool poem/Song. I love the repetition in verses where she says “She’s just a small woman” but finally she has enough and goes off to war herself to seek revenge. It seems to me though in the end, her heart was so broken from the ‘men’ she had lost and so over run by vengeance, the darkness of the vengeance took over her as she laughs. It’s not a good kind of laugh, it’s the kind that is a bit crazed. Extremely well written heart breaking piece. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yes, she is definitely changed by the end of the song, and the laughter is more crazed — or bitter, I was thinking — rather than happy. But I also see it as laughing in the face of death and something like spitting in the face of her enemies. Given that she just murdered the leader of the army, presumably in his own bedroom, surely she will be captured and executed for her crime, so she is showing some serious attitude toward them, and not allowing herself to seem intimidated by them or scared to die.

      Liked by 1 person

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