Friday, August 21, 2020

ArtSpeak! RED poem "Milkmaid's Lament"

 Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Ramona at Pleasures from the Page for Roundup. 

Speaking of Ramona... this week she sent me a link to a live presentation (coming Aug. 23 - here is the link) of cellist Wendy Sutter playing Bach's Six Solo Cello Suites. So sweet, and so lovely! (Thank you, Ramona!) 

And... in a serendipitous twist, I had just been practicing the Prelude to Bach's Cello Suite 1 when I received Ramona's text. :) And that re

Me-n-Lady Godiva
minded me that I haven't updated my cello progress here in a while. It's been FIVE YEARS since I started taking lessons! And yes, currently I am working on Bach's Suite 1 as well as Suzuki Book 7. It's an absolute dream to be able to play these pieces... my life continues to be enriched by my cello practice, and I expect to be taking lessons for another five years... and then... who knows??

My poem this week features another woman performing a mundane task (like Vermeer's Lacemaker from a few weeks ago)... and imagines her feelings about this task. I ended up playing with repetition in the poem, too, because these daily tasks ARE repetitive. Thank you for reading!

Milkmaid's Lament

Someone must mind the milk –
I do not mind that it's me.

I've warmed to the task
of sorting froth-curd-cream

from milk warmed
by blood and breathing.

Morning's breathing
sounds like a sleepy baby's sigh

as milk spills from the russet jug.
I want to hug this gentle moment,

but it spills into the next
       and the next        and the next

without any mind of me at all.

- Irene Latham


  1. So much to love about this, Irene. Your cello longevity, that beautiful photo, the rhythm and rhyme of your poem, the milky breath of the baby's sigh, and those spilling moments. xo

  2. This is really beautiful....that precious time before anyone else is awake to just be in the moment. I love the idea of the moment spilling into the next. That is gorgeous. And, the progression of "someone to me" is very artful...just like the way the painting draws the eye.

  3. Irene, I think it is wonderful that you are so excited about your cello playing. The picture of your with your cello coordinates beautifully with a line in your poem: "I want to hug this gentle moment." Then, the next line reminds me of the spilling of life's task. I just want to savor all of highlights of your post.

  4. I remember when you took up that beloved cello - you, and we all, are richer for it. This poem - Sigh. Gorgeous, and the moments do spill, don't they? Will all those sensory elements embodied in them... Thank you. XO

  5. I am happy for you that you took up that different challenge, but perhaps playing a new instrument is quite the same as working with new words? Playing Bach must be a special highlight on your journey. The milkmaid, though long ago, reminds me of one grandmother whom I watched do that very thing, "that gentle moment" every morning. Beautiful Vermeer, loving poem!

  6. Your "Milkmaids Lament" gently encompasses all our senses and transports us to another time-lovely. Thanks also for the journey with Yo-Yo Ma and Bach that I will never tire of and could listen to over and over again. How wonderful and challenging you are learning this piece, congrats with all your cello accomplishments!

  7. Irene, congrats on your continued efforts and success with the cello. I just knew that I needed to share that with you and how fun that you had just been practicing the prelude. I love the pic of you and your cello. And your poem? Makes me realize there are tasks I should warm to and gentle moments to hug! Thanks for another beautiful poem in your Artspeak series.

  8. Irene, your Milkmaids Lament forges a strong connection between art and poetry. I read an article this very week regarding this continuing connection and now you provides a tangible example for all of us to read. I particularly liked the lines,'from milk warmed by blood and breathing.' I also like the internal linking of words that provided a natural flow to your poem. A mundane task captured in a manner quite special.You have done the milkmaid proud.

  9. Congratulations on your accomplishments with the cello! Bach's cello suites are sublime. Your poem brings so much beauty to the milkmaids repetitive, mundane tasks. "I want to hug this gentle" poem. I was lucky enough to see "The Milkmaid" when it was exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Standing in front of any of Vermeer's paintings is a transcendent experience, but this painting is something deeper, if that's possible.

  10. I love the end of your poem, how you deal with time, and moments spilling each into the next. I just read "Year of Wonders" set in 1666. I'm fascinated by earlier time periods, how everyday things were done, as in the painting by Vermeer.

  11. I love the way your milkmaid poem transcends the moment. It's simply lovely, flowing from start to finish. Your use of repetition is fabulous here! On another note--I'm so impressed by your cello accomplishments! Wow!


Your thoughts?