The Oyster

by Francis Ponge, translated by Jane Swanson

 

The oyster is the size of an average stone yet rougher in appearance and less in color, brilliantly white. It is a world tightly closed.

Yet it can be opened and it must be held in the hollow of a cloth, using a knife and slightly chipped open, you try several times. Curious fingers cut into it, breaks nails, such a crude work. The blows are marks on the door of the shell, white and round, making a kind of halos.

Inside we find a whole world to eat and to drink under a pearly sky with heavens from both above and heavens from below, while forming a pond, and a viscous green bag which ebbs and flows with smell and sight, fringed on the edges with black lace.

Sometimes a very rare formula for pearl is deep in the throat of pearliness, which we immediately adorn ourselves with.

The Oyster