Friday, September 18, 2009

The Virtuous Woman

Who can find a virtuous woman?
She is worth far more than rubies.

Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigourously -
her arms are strong for her tasks;
she sees that her trading is profitable
and her lamp does not go out at night.

In her hands she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

When it snows she has no fear for her household,
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

Her husband is respected at the city gate
where he takes his seat with the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children arise and call her blessed,
her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Give her the reward she has earned
and let her works praise her at the city gate.

Patricia Christeen O'Halloran Ironside
February 22, 1937 - September 18, 2007


  1. Well, I don't tower by any means, but your words have made me stand taller, straighter, with eyes to see over the obstacles that sometimes get in the way of true vision! Thank you! Love you xx Bronwyn

  2. Comment from Bruce:

    "I've finally read 'The virtuous woman' in order to send meaningful comment. Until tonight I had only a passing awareness that distaff connotes 'the female side of the family' (COD)This poem gives this word wonderful context.
    The third stanza mentions her selecting wool and flax and later I read that she is spinning as 'she holds the distaff', eventually turning yarn into the beautiful and appropriate coverings and the clothes that the people in her community wear and identify themselves with. All this makes the metaphor later on so apt: 'She is clothed with strength and dignity.'
    Having read many of your notes written during the month of thanksgiving before I came back to the poem, I can readily appreciate the love you have for her and the fact that you emulate her in your own life. You also keep watch over your household of many friends, and your bread is not the product of idleness.



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