Tuesday, March 2, 2010

lily 4

Now that the lily is out, she seems disconcertingly brazen: I thought that she might manage more subtlety than this. But I did encounter a literary lily - or, indeed, a whole, extravagant bunch of literary lilies tonight while reading Sylvia Townsend Warner's Lolly Willowes for class on Thursday. Laura - Lolly - keeps going out and buying flowers for herself before she leaves London for the witch-infested countryside, the oddness of it all downplayed by Warner's dry enjoyment of the absurd. Her brother and sister in law can't help but notice the floral abundance:

"On one occasion even Henry had noticed the splendor of the lilies: red lilies, angular, authoritative in form and color like cardinals' hats" [Whole Foods didn't have too many of these pre-Christmas, but a few lucky people ended up with them].
"'Where do these come from?' Caroline had asked, knowing well that nothing so costly in appearance could have come from her florist.
'From Africa,' Laura had answered, pressing the firm, wet stalks into her hand.
'Oh well, I daresay they are quite common flowers there,' said Caroline to herself, trying to gloss over the slight awkwardness of accepting a trifle so needlessly splendid."

But that is, of course, the glory of these lilies: they are quite unashamedly over the top.

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