MARYMARTHA

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She rises from her soft
seat of enjoyment

puts aside her book and shakes
the glimmer from her gaze:

some falls into the rug, some
slips into the corners of her eyes.

This last amount goes into the kitchen
with her so that even after she

arrives,
bends over a cucumber and

begins to slice, she’s not entirely
about the business of slicing. Or

if she is about
the business of slicing

it is not a cucumber.
.
.
.
.MARYMARTHA

(originally posted July 2012)

63 responses »

  1. I laughed at this at the end. Perhaps I laughed from shock! My semi-puritanical mind-set presumes it’s the sisters, Martha and Mary, and it’s Mary that Martha wants to slice up. Although, getting to know your poetic voice I could put another interpretation on it altogether. It still wouldn’t stop me from laughing from the shock!

      • Just on my lunch break, having a “Martha” moment, but will soon return to the hard working “Mary”, not that resting can’t be difficult, too…but today at least there’s no aggression in the work of my hands, in my heart as I do things, though I can definitely relate to the “cucumber” moments. A good poem — as I’ve come back to think on it.

        • “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things…But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
          —Luke 10: 41,42

          I’m glad you are enjoying both Mary and Martha in Marymartha, and hope you had a happy birthday yesterday. Thanks for taking the time to re-read and comment!

  2. This is fascinating, and delightful. It reads to me almost like a friendly jibe at romantic poetry from the perspective of an imagist. Have I interpreted that correctly?

    • Yes, of course you know this one, John. It’s never run the blogging gauntlet so I thought I’d see what response ensued. I especially like your remark about combining the two in one person; she’s a character surrounded by quite a few poems in my archives….one of my ever elusive “themes’…in fact, related to the subject of work. πŸ™‚

  3. If I had a name like PROSPEROCALIBAN I’d want to slice it up too. But perhaps Mary and Martha are uterine sisters and murderous fantasies run in the family, on the mother’s side, as doe-eyed and kindhearted Tom and Dick (not TOMDICK–if you’re paying attention) have spotless pedigrees, with no hint of violent proclivities.

    • It’s exhilirating to realize how a more-than-three-hundred-year-old brain remains so fertile with ideas…and your antipathy to spliced names spices the imagination to a new inspiration, Prospero…you’ve got me thinking contrarily: I should now pen (notice I did not say keyboard) a brother poem entitled TOMDICK. Thank you!

      • Or graduating to thirds, you could try TOMDICKHARRY, which will require a sharp knife and a steady hand–the hand of a calligrapher.

        • Though I value your advice, I think that may be a bridge too far. As they— the famous un-named solons constantly quoted— say: two’s company but three is a crowd. Add a calligrapher to the doe-eyed boys, and now we have four… a troped troupe “de trop”… among other things.

          • They, the poorly understood and grossly underpaid, say, also, on weekends and holidays, that the third time’s the charm, so I beg you to reconsider, as I am not asking for what every Tom, Dick, and Harry would want, that is, a wonderfully clever poem about cleaving two gents! I’m asking for an exceptionally wonderful and clever poem about a famous triumvirate that, owing to a perniciously faulty keyboard, needs a little slice up. Cucumber salad, anyone?

            And, dear Cynthia, you have the brilliant mind to do it!

            • At least you didn’t say “cucumber sandwiches”…..(do people really eat these or are they only in a play by Oscar Wilde?)

              And I must bask–as one still not enough enlightened to fully have transcended ego—in the glory of your last sentence… before even attempting to think further on this subject.

              • I eat cucumber sandwiches. Just bread, mayonnaise, and cucumber slices. My mouth watered typing this. You should try them, Cynthia. I did not until my fifth decade, when I wondered one day “Do people really eat these?” and so made and tried one. Delicious.

                • Ok, Babe, I’m gonna try it….maybe wait ’til the local cukes are plentiful. Of course, anything tastes good with mayonnaise, in my book.

                  Ambrose Bierce, in his “Devil’s Dictionary” had a definition of mayonnaise that runs like this:
                  MAYONNAISE: a sauce that serves the French in place of a national religion. πŸ™‚

                • Used to own a copy. Got rid of one day when I saw that he was even more misanthropic than I, and re-reading him was unhealthy (if fun).

      • Only a pleasure Cynthia – great poetry always deserves a comment at the very least! πŸ™‚
        Must say I am enjoying the challenge of this month! Learning and stretching myself – good times! Hopefully helping me to improve for the future! πŸ™‚

  4. Great job! What an interesting ending. I am new here and I created the page Real Life Natural Wife. I hope you’ll come by and let me know what you think. Have a great day!

  5. A nice poem… especially for the Sunday evening, which is when I read it, and one must think about putting aside one’s little pleasures and starting on the mundane work of the week… I will keep some of that glimmer in the corner of my eyes, however!

  6. I felt this so differently from your other readers. I don’t understand how her great anger and…something–betrayal?–was missed by them. She was in comfort, reading, and something shocked those tears from her.

    Perhaps I cannot ever separate myself from everything I read. This poem strikes too close.

    Great.

  7. I’m sure this can be read in more than one way. She could just have a very busy mind – mundane tasks to do, on the other hand – I can’t help wondering what it was she reading before she went into the kitchen! πŸ˜‰ I guess we will be left wondering forever!! πŸ˜€

    • Hi Suzy….another commenter was also wondering about what Marymartha was reading. Honestly, I would tell you if I knew. Reading is such a pleasure, to me, (compared to slicing vegetables when I’m not in the mood) that I didn’t think it mattered. Now you’ve got me thinking about various possibilities in the story of Marymartha. But she’s not a story yet, only a little poem! Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful commenting.

  8. Hi Cynthia,one of your musing poems,l think she was reading Agatha Christy to give Mary the idea to go to the kitchen.to do the slicing., warred about one thing and Mary seems the protagonist with the glimmer in her eye..and many plots in her mind..Regards.

    • There have been so many interesting responses to this little poem, Melissa…which I always considered fairly straightforward in meaning (especially with the biblical allusion implied in her name). Isn’t it amazing how the words we put together can communicate so many different feelings. And I’m sensing a male/female difference in the reactions, too. Your own comment does my heart good because it suggests to me that your reading is closest to my pretty simple intent. Thank you!

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