Potato Gatherers, Robert A. Sieczkiewicz
Close your eyes, deeply breathe in the beauty,
Of the living earth which greets us this day,
We protect her as a sacred duty,
Thus kneeling, feeling, giving thanks we pray.
Before us the earth did provide others,
With a sustaining life without question.
Abundance is but one of her wonders,
For her people are her prized possession.
The chosen have roots in the earth so deep,
That they are ev’r but one with blessed rich soil.
No alternative would they ever seek,
Since there is a joy in their endless toil.
The potatoes we gather are a gift,
Our arms to heaven lovingly we lift.
French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage created the Potato Gatherers in 1879. For this work he received the Legion of Honour. I asked the reader to look at the faces of two women to get a feel for what is transpiring. As painted there is not any anguish. The woman filling the bag is struggling but does not scowl. From the looks of the women and the symbol of the potato in this time period was one of spirituality. They were associated with fertility, abundance and regeneration.