Adriaen Coorte

Painter of asparagus and raspberries,
he’s added lemons too and gooseberries
in tangible magnificence.
He sets them down, depicts their shape.
A rigid order they communicate,
stubbornness that helps the viewer share
durable pretence.
Things edible and perishable as
men are, have for a brief space been
wilfully set apart and raised
above nature’s breathlessness. They must
and would transcend it, before becoming
indistinct remnants on a dinner-plate
or scrap heap.

From Inhabited as I Am (Bewoond als ik ben, 1981)
By Ed Leeflang
Translated by Paul Vincent

First published in The Low Countries, 1994