I write most of the blog entries and most of the comments in response to readers.
I was born of theater people in San Diego, CA during the Vietnam War. From that unhumble beginning things only got more interesting.
I dig culture and story.
I am a member of the smallest generation in modern times–thanks to birth-control pills, and like my peers, I was a child during the First Televised War the world had ever seen, which is really quite something, if you stop to think about it.
I grew up in Grinnell, Iowa; a little college town and a great place to learn to talk to strangers. (I once got a job in Hermosa Beach, CA based solely on the manager’s belief that Iowans had good work ethics. He wanted me to spy on the other employees.)
I am childless by choice, but always imagined grandparenting would be a kick in the pants. As it happens, my husband and soul mate has many to share.
The idea for this next poem came from reflections on a university classroom experience in a course Stephen and I audited. I was struck by the different ways in which the male and female students (including us) interacted with each other and the professor around the subject matter: Poetry Writing. There were about 30 of us, in chairs arranged in a circle. The men spoke first, with great gusto and animation while the women seemed to hang back, waiting, and seemed fastidious in their comments, reaching for particulars. It brought to my mind the famous piece “Des Glaneuses” (The Gleaners) by Jean-Francois Millet, and this ekphrastic poem took shape.
“Des Glaneuses” by Jean-Francois Millet,
1855, oil on canvas
Their harvest follows the men’s path
stooping and tucking
stray grains into loose aprons
tied twice at the waist,
tiny einkorn ribs off the herringbone,
like Adam’s rib,
full of golden protein
as those bundled and tossed
in conspicuous heaps by strong men
carting their reap to the gristmill,
entering the market.
The women watch
the men clear out.
At the far edge of the field,
horses pull away,
straining under load.
Tucking hair into bonnets,
they will gather up
what was strewn,
touching the currency of elements,
separate wheat from chaff
between thumb and fingers,
pound by hand, and later
pat into cakes on the stove
for their own men
bellowing, tired and blackened
from the pit and streets.
Sparse wheat will sustain them,
backs at rest from the bent day,
the women will pass
churned butter fat,
first to husbands,
knives conducting heat
from the women’s good bread,
steam rising to the nose.
Tomorrow the women will return
to the open field, redeem like scavengers
the last, best pearls dropped
out of reach of those men’s deft cut
but also because of it,
to make enough from nearly nothing,
sweat pooling between their breasts
salting their bodies.
By Elizabeth Maurer
My steepest current growth curve is how to stock a kitchen with tasty, healthy, sustainable food for my husband, myself and our dog on a small planet. I could spend hours with our dog, Max at “Doggy Disneyland”, Marymoor’s Off Leash Dog Park in Redmond, WA.
I have a master’s degree in Existential Phenomenological Therapeutic Psychology from Seattle University and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology from Macalester College. In the years since I closed my psychotherapy practice, I have produced the first episode of a program for public access television, taught music to elementary school children through an AmeriCorps assignment in New Mexico, edited my husband’s two chapbooks, ran an after-school writers group for youth, was a visiting artist in a fourth grade classroom, resumed my singing career and started writing poetry. I also enjoy photography and making mobiles for adults: why should babies have all the fun?