Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer Day

I've had this poem started in my head for a long time because this is my favorite painting in my house.  I can't read the artist's signature to give credit, but am adding photos of it.  When I first purchased it many years ago for the living room, I was attracted to its blues and greens (my favorite colors) and to its serene scene.  

Back then, my eyes were always drawn to the first woman who is so dignified, peaceful and calm, a lady of leisure.  But recently my attention has been more on the second woman, the quiet maid.  As a mother I can actually relate more to her role.  This poem is the result of my pondering the portrayal of these two women.

Summer Day – A Nostalgic Painting
By Janet Sobczyk, 2012


One woman sitting
in a wooden chair
doing needlework
under a shade tree
in soft dappled light.
A sunhat covers
perfectly coiffed hair,
a long dark skirt and
starched crisp, light blouse grace
her delicate shape,
thin fingers guiding
the needle through each
precisely-formed stitch.
She is the mistress
of this country home.


The other woman
is wat’ring the plants
in the bright sunlight.
A long black dress and
white apron announce
her status:  servant.
With cooking, laundry,
And cleaning the house,
does she ever have
a chance to sit down
and enjoy the shade?


As I gaze upon
this peaceful picture
of a summer’s day,
I wonder if it
really signifies
Martha and Mary.
Martha was busy
and worried about
many things to do.
Mary chose the best
by sitting quite still
and listening to
her Lord, Jesus Christ.

One woman sitting,
one woman working.
If I had to choose
I’d prefer Mary’s
contemplative life.
But it seems that I
am caught in Martha’s
daily list of chores.
Perhaps these women
portray a balance
rather than a choice.
Surely each woman
needs a balance of
working and sitting
to be her best self.

With this new insight
when I gaze at this
most favorite print
I will always see
so very much more
than a summer day.



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