Posted in Casting Bricks Collaborative Poetry


Charley at Life in Portofino posed a Challenge for the November edition of Casting Bricks that is indeed a very great challenge.  To complete his poem I went with an assumption that is not in the text of John where this story is told, but is a plausible reason why the woman at the well had been married numerous times.  Charley’s words are in bold and mine follow.  (Everyone is welcome to join us in the Casting Bricks Challenge!)

[Here comes she, bearing her plight.]

 (A man!  Will his words carry sugar
as does all the rest?)

 [She suffers more than she needs.
Her exclusion from the throng
is her own guilt.]

 (A Jew!  Why is he waiting here,
and at this hour?)

[Her heart remains open – Thank
you, Father!]

 (I cannot face him.  He must know
that I am an outcast.  Perhaps
if I ignore him.)

 [She cannot know that I am here
to bring her back into the world
of the living.]

 (Maybe he will ignore me.)
“Will you give me some water?”
Oh, my child!
Whom never I bore
in my persistent barrenness
you shall hear the story
of the quorum
of husbands who took me
to the gates,
each in his turn
for my empty
womb, setting me
to scavenge,
to beg the shelter
due a woman without

until that one —
who wanted naught
but water–
to fill up,
not my infertile margins,
but my desolate soul.

It makes my feet itch
for I have none to inherit
my satisfaction.

© Life in Portofino / Jilly