The title refers to the old custom of Eastern European Jews when the brides shaved their heads in token of submission and donned a marriage wig, and several of the poems here, ethnic, witty and free-wheeling, deal with hair-cutting (Rapunzel's, a nun's, a daughter's, a bride's). The first section is more closely concerned with personal growing-up through the fears and restrictions of childhood and custom into a triumphant maturity as wife and mother in which the universe seems like a distracted housekeeper, ""keeping/ every star prompt. She puffs along/ ... steers clouds, fans winds, and slicen/ or mends the moon."" In the second half, the poems open outward to scenes of Greece, Egypt, Pompeii, and Miss Whitman looks at life, age and other people with a half-humorous awareness. The mixture of no-nonsense frankness and slightly bizarre fantasy is appealing.