Autour du château de Versailles
April 11, 2011
Very bright gold paint just being applied to all decorative items of the front? of the palace. Louis XIV, looking sunny on a dull day. This time next year the refurb will look as we expect it – but did he prefer this Essex look?
The parterres on the rear terraces crisp and vernal with a delightful, random mixed infill – it isn’t random on inspection but carefully patterned to flow without a stilted look – not Essex! Yellow narcissus are OK if plenty of white are mixed in too.
Le Nôtre had great foresight . . .
. . . and Jules Harduin-Mansart also possessed a formidable understanding of scale. A small area of the orangerie looking empty last week but the topiary is clearly visible. Once the caisse are placed then these diminish in importance.
Ornate pavilion/tents at the entrances to the park – mmmm, might have to borrow these for a scheme!
Great scale again down by les grandes eaux.
Water jets still in winter wraps but the magnificence astounds.
Nothing nastier than a white person!
She mutters as she irons alterations
in the backroom of Charlotte’s Dress Shoppe.
The steam rising from a cranberry wool
comes alive with perspiration
and stale Evening of Paris.
Swamp she born from, swamp
she swallow, swamp she got to sink again.
The iron shoves gently
into a gusset, waits until
the puckers bloom away. Beyond
the curtain, the white girls are all
wearing shoulder pads to make their faces
delicate. That laugh would be Autumn,
tossing her hair in imitation of Bacall.
Beulah had read in the library
how French ladies at court would tuck
their fans in a sleeve
and walk in the gardens for air. Swaying
among lilies, lifting shy layers of silk,
they dropped excrement as daintily
as handkerchieves. Against all rules
she had saved the lining from a botched coat
to face last year’s gray skirt. She knows
whenever she lifts a knee
she flashes crimson. That seems legitimate;
but in the book she had read
how the cavaliere amused themselves
wearing powder and perfume and spraying
yellow borders knee-high on the stucco
of the Orangerie.
A hanger clatters
in the front of the shoppe.
Beulah remembers how
even Autumn could lean into a settee
with her ankles crossed, sighing
I need a man who’ll protect me
while smoking her cigarette down to the very end. Rita Dove The Great Palaces of Versailles