Roses in WinterStuart Greenhouse
Roses dans un verre a champagne, Edouard Manet A yellow rose in a champagne glass, at its center an empty, an “oh” of a moan some small scent escapes from. See its lower petals slack as the lip of a man sapped by illness whimpering a little senseless whisper to the man he had thought he was, before his withering. The slackness in those petals is painted faithfully, I recognize the ugly way dry air affects the under, the unsupported ones first. Flowers never protest their decay the way a man does, but this is a painting of a rose, its face deteriorates in grief to just the sigh one would expect from Lear were he ever, even for a moment, to find himself beyond speech   and it occurs to me it is not strange that the fate of a flower in winter, even as thick-stemmed a rose as this, is to wither in heat, nor that its withering is, in this painting, an expression of dismay at its own clipped youth, a protest which fades as it forms caught here in the forming. It seems to me a clarified self-recognition in the way a cup, being the holding of nothing, only in the breaking arrives at itself.
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