“Made by Maid” by Laura Marling
I like to think that, in her song “Made by Maid,” Marling is inventing an entire fantasy realm—part Game of Thrones, part The Wicker Man–in which sun-worshipping woodland lovers frolic and make babies, only to neglect them, and the cycle repeats when the child grows up to adopt her own child, who in turn resents her. Not exactly the standard stuff of pop songs, but in keeping with the melancholy Anglo-Saxon ballads that are part of Marling’s lineage.
The song is bittersweet, spare, haunting, exquisite. It may be a weirdo pagan fantasy, but it’s presented with zero pretension and completely raw, vulnerable emotion: it doesn’t come across as freak folk. And how did a childless young woman—not quite twenty when she wrote it—come to make a song about repeating, or complicating, the same self-centered choices your parents make with you with your own children?
This song makes me want to perform interpretive dance at solstice, in a grove.
Arielle Greenberg is co-author of Home/Birth: A Poemic; author of My Kafka Century, Given and Shake Her; and co-editor of three anthologies, including Gurlesque. She has two books forthcoming in 2015: Slice and Locally Made Panties. She lives in Maine and teaches in the community and in Oregon State University-Cascades’ MFA. Arielle writes a regular column on contemporary poetics for the American Poetry Review.
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