Peeling Onions by Lilly Martin Spencer


With elements of a still life

fruits, crumbs and a dead bird on a table

partly covered with a folded white cloth

and the classical portrait, a beautiful woman

weeping as she peels onions, the viewer is

offered a mystery cloaked in incompatibility.  

A beautiful woman in a lovely gown would

not likely pluck a chicken nor work in a darken

kitchen in preparation of a meal. The eye is

drawn to her light skin, in contrast to the dark

surroundings, her arms, her soft neckline, her

lovely profile, her left ear with a gold earring

her face expressing a sadness beyond the onions.

Has she married a man without enough money

to hire a cook? Has all her beauty gone for nothing?

“Is her grief equal to all these tears?”