Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Reaper with a Sickle (1838)

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot: The Reaper with a Sickle

The Woman with the Wild-Grown Hair
Observes "Reaper with a Sickle"
(Jean Baptiste Camille Corot)

The girl rests, blouse down over
one shoulder, her head on hand,
elbow on knee, dark skirt
covering her spread legs,
a sickle hanging
loosely in her left hand.
Behind her storm clouds gather,
two figures, arms raised
in the act of cutting grain
on a long flat stretch of bland fields.

Her face is what draws the Woman,
brown hair like her
own parted in the center,
mouth slightly open
over shiny white teeth,
sad dark eyes, a long line down
the left side of her face,
a young face but world-worn.
It is the look the Woman
remembers from her mirror
in the time of her own youth,
wide-eyed, wisdom-wearied,
wondering if things would ever be better,
wondering when the job would finally be done.

from The Woman With Wild-Grown Hair, poems by Nita Penfold, 1992

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