William Scott Still Life with Frying Pan 1946

William Scott Pears
William Scott ‘Pears’

Five Morself in the Form of Pearls

  Edward Lucie-Smith

for William Scott and Erik Satie


Personal problem: how to
get over that wall and sink
my teeth into a beauty?
The orchard is a harem –
swelling hips and large bottoms.
You can almost hear them, those
female conversations
about their jewels and children,

about their seeds and raindrops,
new life and how to make it.


That black-and-yellow buzzing –
a nest of guards to punish
the intruder. Swollen with
stings, you’ll regret your boldness.
Ah! the pain of the half-shut
wounded eye that looked too close
at imprisoned love! It is
not like that. Every wasp
is choosing a bride, palping
flesh and savouring juices.


They are courting their tethered
victims, who hang by a stem
between air and earth, between
growing and dying. The wasps
walk on the surprisingly
chapped skin, and then probe and probe.
You expect a convulsive
movement, a tiny outcry
as virginity is lost
while the wound opens, oozes.


how swift the transition
from favourite to mother!
You would not care, now, for what
this broadhipped woman offers:
a family of grubs in
an impassive form which has
passed in a moment from ripe
to rotten. You did not come
in time. ‘It is all over, ‘
she says, meaning her sweetness.


In another part of the
orchard, and hanging from a
different tree; or perhaps
on a plate on a table,
squatting there half-titled and
content to wait. It arrives,
the moment of decision.
They know they are fortunate
to be thus summoned, looked at,
picked for the preservative
violations of art.

William Scott Five Pears
William Scott ‘Five Pears’

Edward Lucie-Smith was born in 1935 in Jamaica. He came to England in 1946 and is widely known as a poet, broadcaster, art critic and journalist. A Tropical Childhood & other Poems (1961) won the John Llewellyn-Rhys Memorial Prize. He has published various editions of contemporary poetry, works of art history and criticism and a volume of autobiography.

William Scott Still Life with Frying Pan 1946
William Scott Still Life with Frying Pan 1946