Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Tired Lady of the Marketplace

A Corner of the Market
Edward Emerson Simmons

He found her in the marketplace,
stopping to quickly sketch
her tiredness.
Moved by her plight,
he bought an apple,
brushing her hand with his
as he handed her a copper,
hoping for a smile,
though it seemed her face 
had forgotten how.

Gathering Wood
Edward Emerson Simmons

The next time,
she was gathering wood.
There were no hopeful dreams
in her eyes,
just the reality
of working long days 
for room and board,
searching for twigs
to warm 
her master's hearth.

This time he asked her 
if he might sketch her,
for pay,
the better to capture 
the details of her dark eyes,
the longer,
if truth be told,
to gaze openly
at her beauty
with his artist's 
appreciative eye.

He felt himself
wishing he could
spirit her away,
show her comfort and ease.
But it was impossible
for he was gentry,
and she a mere servant.
He watched her from afar,
pouring his emotion
into his paintings,
in which her poverty,
her fatigue,
her struggles,
were all laid bare.

by Edward Emerson Simmons

How random life is,
the accident of birth
a bed of roses
or of thorns.

A series of paintings,
and then she disappeared,
leaving him to wonder,
pensive by the fire,
puffing on his pipe,
drinking his brandy,
what had become
of the tired young lady
of the marketplace.

for Shay at Fireblossom Friday: a poem inspired by the paintings of Shay's uncle, Edward Emerson Simmons.


  1. Wow, Sherry, look at what you've done here with this triptych. I never would have thought to connect them all this way. The whole thing tells such a story and illustrates how one person's life can be just a detail in another's. (You do make my relative sound awfully English though--he was a New England Yankee! LOL) Thanks so much for this.

    1. I thought there must be a story there, since he saeems to have painted the same young woman more than once.

  2. A wonderful trio of poems linking three paintings together. This trio makes me want to write one of my Dorian poems - the American in London.

  3. OMG!!!
    This has left me speechless


  4. "How random life is,
    the accident of birth
    a bed of roses
    or of thorns."

    Wonderful! I agree it appears to be the same girl.

  5. A lovely triptych Sherry--how clever of you to notice the model repeating--and always in that same detached and almost stricken mood. I like " A series of paintings,/and then she disappeared,' --it seems so much like some encounters we have where a person is really almost a symbol.

  6. Bravo, so clever to do this form and use more paintings~ You are a storyteller and have woven roses and thorns into your poem!

  7. Each more beautiful than the last. Loved each word. xoxohugs

  8. great story Sherry you weaved a connection through all three paintings

  9. I love how you have brought these pictures to life. The pen is mightier than the brush :D

  10. A fine triptych. The distance between art and life here is great, and art is the poorer for it. (You gave it a good lift!)

  11. You made them seem to be really scraping for survival really well. One of the culprits appeared in each, I felt really sorry for her. I also was reading into her situation but didn't tell it nearly as well. Thank you,

  12. The artists eye, the man's eye, and how she hopefully pulled some compassion from his heart... hopefully he paid her well

  13. this is just a brilliant way to have interpreted these images/paintings. Astounding how you've captured essences and then read your own story into them .... giving a new life to one we could almost see and feel, but now, with all the dust, perchance, see light in hope, for the leaving - every rose has its thorn, but eventually, well the thorns outlast the roses ....


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