A Melon on a Stem

An extract from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Then we had the irises, rising beautiful and cool on their tall stalks, like blown glass, like pastel water momentarily frozen in a splash, light blue, light mauve, and the darker ones, velvet and purple, black cat’s ears in the sun, indigo shadow, and the bleeding hearts, so female in shape it was a surprise they’d not long since been rooted out. There is something subversive about this garden of Serena’s, a sense of buried things bursting upwards, wordlessly, into the light, as if to point, to say: Whatever is silenced will clamour to be heard, though silently. A Tennyson garden, heavy with scent, languid; the return of the word swoon. Light pours down upon it from the sun, true, but also heat rises, from the flowers themselves, you can feel it: Like holding your hand an inch above an arm, a shoulder. It breathes, in the warmth, breathing itself in. To walk through it in these days, of peonies, of pinks and carnations, makes my head swim.
The willow is in full plumage and is no help, with its insinuating whispers. Rendezvous, it says, terraces; the sibilants run up my spine, a shiver as if in fever. The summer dress rustles against the flesh of my thighs, the grass grows underfoot, at the edges of my eyes there are movements, in the branches; feathers, flittings, grace notes, tree into bird, metamorphosis run wild. Goddesses are possible now and the air suffuses with desire. Even the bricks of the house are softening, becoming tactile; if I leaned against them they’d be warm and yielding. It’s amazing what denial can do. Did the sight of my ankle make him lightheaded, faint, at the checkpoint yesterday, when I dropped my pass and let him pick it up for me? No handkerchief, no fan, I use what’s handy.
Winter is not so dangerous. I need hardness, cold, rigidity; not this heaviness, as if I’m a melon on a stem, this liquid ripeness.

georgia-okeeffe-banana-flower-1934

Banana Flower, Georgia O’Keeffe, 1934

Melon, Gabriel Orozco, 1993

Melon, Gabriel Orozco, 1993

Advertisements

Rotimi Fani-Kayode

Tulip Boy, 1989 Nothing to Lose VII, 1989 Grapes, 1989 Rotimi Fani-Kayode Rotimi Fani-Kayode Adebiyi, 1989 Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Nothing to Lose XI, 1989 Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Untitled,


New Horizons

Came accross this beautiful photograph at stoppingoffplace

New Horizons in Flower Arrangement by Myra J. Brooks with Mary Alice and John P. Roche, M. Barrows & Co., NY, 1961

New Horizons in Flower Arrangement by Myra J. Brooks with Mary Alice and John P. Roche, M. Barrows & Co., NY, 1961


April

April. Maurice Denis. 1892.

April. Maurice Denis. 1892.


Still Life with Japanese Woodcut

Nature Morte à L'estampe Japonaise. Paul Gauguin.

Nature Morte à L’estampe Japonaise. Paul Gauguin. 1889.


Sunflowers

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Sunflowers. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. 1909.


Temptation

Temptation. Odilon Redon.

Temptation. Odilon Redon.