A DAY FOR BELLINIS
Fixings for Bellinis.
" With my whole body I taste these peaches, I touch them and smell them. Who speaks? I absorb them as the Angevine Absorbs Anjou. I see them as a lover sees, As a young lover sees the first buds of spring And as the black Spaniard plays his guitar. '" Wallace Stevens
While Spain dithered, Syria banned the Burka. France gears up for a tremendous s debate on the constitutionality of its anti-burka law. Strange world. Katherine Mansfield thought so too. Lately, I have been rereading her LETTERS with intent. That led me to research on a writer I have yet to read, the Provencal poet and naturalist Jean Henry Fabre. I found his poems online with translations from Provencal to French. I also found his entomology books at online used bookshops. These little jaunts into literary cyberspace have their dangers. Inevitably, I find books I absolutely must have, such as the complete Shakespeare--my late husband got custody of the copy I used to read. He moved to the steppes to set up housekeeping with Gertha Klavichord, a person of Teutonic extraction, and so it was goodbye Shakespeare. I have replaced the late husband before I replaced Shakespeare--an omission I am about to correct.
Buying books when one's stash has already reached critical mass is folly, I know. Surely I can get Charles Lamb's LETTERS, Fabre's SOUVENIRS ENTOMOLOGIQUES, John Forster's LIFE OF DICKENS from the local library. The catch is that I want my books at my fingertips for those occasions when I wake up in the middle of the night wondering exactly what Fabre had to say about nougat, what is the second verse in Walter de la Mare's Song of Enchantment and like that. It happens, you know. I could read some this online I if I were willing to share my bed with my laptop. I can't. There is too serious a risk that the mountain books teetering on my bedside table would choose the occasion to collapse and on it, crushing it forevermore.
So I raise a glass of Belllini made with some divine white peaches I found at our grocery store. Here is to France, Syria and online bookshops!