Bodies under the Sun




It’s gradually getting warmer week by week, and as I prepare myself for a long summer, I’m also enjoying this temporary tepid warmth. It’s like a hot bath that has slightly cooled. The evenings are still chilly, but the days are filled with a hazy warmth. It makes it hard to concentrate on anything other than gazing out the window. Everything seems to be blooming and growing of its own accord under this mild sun. Yesterday, I spotted a single brilliant poppy in my tiny garden. As I looked out the window while making coffee this morning, this poppy had sprouted friends. All I really want to do is sit outdoors and gaze at their silky petals, fawning over their delicate beauty.

I know this mild warmth won’t last very long, and will soon become an uncomfortable scorching heat. But right now, it feels like being in a Monet painting where everything is flushing, blooming, and pleasantly indistinct. This poem by Jude Nutter seems appropriate at the moment (published in Pictures of the Afterlife):


The foxgloves begin that flickering
descent away from themselves, out
of the visible world: all summer
the narrow sheaths of their flowers
unfurl and the bees, drawn always
by the suck of quiet blooming, arrive
at each slow secret as it rides there
on the thin flame of its stem. And every

flower is bruised hollow with light
and for a while they ignite like the naves
of churches. No wonder the bees
keep nudging beyond the smooth clutch

of the petals and into the widening emptiness
inside those flowers, on fire
with the only burning that counts.

Image credits (top to bottom): The Luncheon by Claude Monet; Spring Flowers by Claude Monet; Monet’s garden in Argenteuil Sun by Claude Monet.