Sunday, February 15, 2015

After Viewing Lady Hamilton's Portrait And A Trip To The Country

The shock

of seeing a lady

draped in white silk

spinning thread

with a hen and chicks at her feet --


was the same

when we found  Lisa

retired from Glamour

rising early to clean a farmhouse

and feed chickens.


She still put on make-up,

angora and sleek jeans

to mingle with her Brahma maids.

Yet, there was something new,

original about her. She could read

the fortune of eggs in a nest

and called each of her birds

by a magic name.


Beyond the barn

there was an herb garden,

(at least she termed it so)

where her hands cultivated

an ancient  plant. Its fibers

once used to craft  rope

and sail. Scroll and lamp wick.

Its leaf and flower now

sacred items, royal strains.


At night, she dreams

and its sprit comes to her

speaking in a tribal language,

holding an amphora

of fragrant seeds. At first light

when the cockerel sings,

she awakens knowing

what to grow, how to cure, groomed

to become a sibyl.
In 1789, artist, Thomas Cheesman, painted Lady Emma Hamilton as a very elegant woman spinning wool with chicken at her feet. She was draped in  a lovely white scarf and gown performing a very common, housewifely task, rather an unnatural mix for the time period. The portrait or engraving was entitled "The Spinster" meaning a woman who cards, weaves and spins rather than the common definition or derogatory term of "old maid".

Brahma maids refers to a category of American chickens who come in an assortment of colors and patterns ranging from buff gold to red, speckled and spotted as well.

Sibyl is a term relating to a wise woman, a woman who can foresee the future, read signs and reveal truths, wisdom and trends in nature as well as the unseen world. She was often seer, botanist, and in some cases, even a spinner or weaver of fate.

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