The Broken Pitcher, Robert A. Sieczkiewicz
It is a simple life, but a good life,
Filled with very tedious work, yet pure.
To grow to adulthood, to be a wife,
But b’ware of gentleman stranger’s allure.
From the city he came with his broad smile,
A cheerful gaze to me made my heart rush.
My prince had come there was no denial,
A weakened heart he could see in my blush.
On his pedestal did tell a weak’n heart.
His touch to my aching lips I did swoon.
Heart versus mind a warning not to start.
But heart won, gave myself under the moon.
Here patiently await for his return,
Surely his child would be of his concern.
La Cruche Cassée (The Broken Pitcher) was painted by William-Adolphe Bouguereau in 1891. An examination of the symbolism used by Bouguereau finds the use of the pitcher a stage of sexual activity. In the current painting the young lady has lost her virginity as symbolized by the cracked pitcher. A pitcher in a painting but not being touched by a young lady means she is a virgin. Should she be drinking or pouring from a pitcher she is sexually active.
The reason why I wrote this poem was not because of the symbolism but the reality of that time where young women who were not part of the bourgeoisie were target for exploitation. Those living in the outlying villages of the cities were prime targets. This was not something new of course. It had been part of the tawdry morality in Europe for centuries. Having four granddaughters you can imagine the feelings that I have on this subject. Even when my sons were getting to that frisky period in their lives I never asked that they abstain from sexual activity but made the point of respect.