Great Poems by Julia Bell

Julia is a reclaimer who lives in London.   She is contributing poems to an upcoming anthology called “Happy Heretics:  Tips for Recovering from Harmful Religion.”   She is writing a memoir about growing up in a strict evangelical family and also a novel.  She recently performed a number of poems, including the one below, and sent me this link.  She is a great writer and you can get her humor even more when you watch the video.  And be sure not to miss the poem about Lot’s wife at 6.22.

                                                               “The Visiting Speaker”

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me serve alone? Luke 10:40

Typical. The minute there’s a man about the house

she’s off, leaving me to get on

with the gutting of fish, the buttering of bread.

Sitting there, simpering, playing with her

beads in that idle, flirty way that makes her look cheap.


Five loaves and fishes and then some

piled on the table, there’s at least fifty people coming,

it will take a miracle to get this done in time.

And all she cares about is boys, boys, boys,

turned into a simpleton the minute they arrived.


Our hands butterflied across the table,

slicing, dicing, picking bones, tossing salads,

while we debated the various defences of Kierkegaard,

and the finer points of the theories of mind,

and then when he arrived she emptied like a drain


quite the coquette, while I sit here steaming

Pollack, getting grease stains on my blouse.

So many exceptions: Peter who’s vegetarian, Matthew

the wheat intolerant, Mark who can’t stand fish.

Wet drips together dripping. Especially him.


When I went out to complain all he could say

was there were more important things than cooking

in that kind of hippie, dreamy way that she believes

is a substitute for thinking. See here, he said,

picking a flower, consider the lilies of the field.


And she lay next to him, giggling, rococo,

as if posing for a Titian. God, that made me mad.

Here I am up to my eyeballs in dishes,

and all she can think about is sex. What good are flowers

when the clock is ticking on the Sunday roast?


He’s no idea what it’s like pulled every which way,

clean this, cook that, where’s my clean shirt?

He might have time for stargazing, but me,

I have to keep the carrots from boiling over.

A martyr? Don’t be soft. I’m losing my mind in here.