The Gleaners


April sunshine has given me the courage to take on the challenge of writing Ekphrastic poems. I have never attempted to translate the emotion from paintings, drawings, sculptures, or other visual works of art into words. The challenge will require me to dig deep to tap into the passions such works of art create inside a person. Most of what I write will be speculative. There will be times when I will place myself into the mind of the artist. Still other times, I will express the emotions I experience gazing at the work of art. If I get creative, I might even tell the story from an element within the work of art. This Ekphrastic poems is based on a painting by Jean-Francois Millet entitled The Gleaners.   

The Gleaners

If not for poverty

My sisters and I would not

Be gleaning in this field.

Sometimes it is hard to see

The tiny grain as we squat

Picking the leavings from the yield

We three thought a few things

Would be different after the revolution

But what we got was more of the same

Chop off a few heads and others grow wings.

Rebellion was a never a good resolution

Because power is a deadly game.

There have always been poor women gleaners

From the days of ancient Zion

So in the dust and dirt we labor like Ruth.

The priests instruct us to have quiet demeanors

While we root among the scion

And work like we did in our youth.

Still, these days there is little mercy for the poor

We are a constant reminder

Of the deprivation they hate

Not easily ignored

When an artist removed the moral blinder

With the stroke of a brush bold and ornate.

Who is Molly Shea?

Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh.  To read more of her short stories and adventures, click here.

Be sure to follow Molly on Twitter!

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Published by henhouselady

I am the author of Saving the Hen House. I didn't know when I started it would turn into a series. I love to ride motorcycles, the blues, my family, and going on adventures. This old hen rocks.

2 thoughts on “The Gleaners

  1. I was a gleaner for ten days during the high school “agricultural study” period. It is really hard work. Farm labor is backbreaking–literally. And because rain is a constant threat, farmers don’t even sleep during the harvest season so they can get the rice harvested and dried and stored before the next rain comes in. When they are tired, they just pass out in the field. When they wake up, they start to labor again. The whole village is transformed into a workshop and older people work as cooks and deliverers of the food for the harvesting crew.

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