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The Little Review
Making No Compromises With the Public Taste
Poem for Saturday and Hillwood Faberge 
Saturday, 19th January 2019 12:24 am

Fabergé's Egg
By Elizabeth Spires

      Switzerland, 1920

Dear Friend, “Called away” from my country,
I square the egg and put it in a letter
that all may read, gilding each word a little
so that touched, it yields to a secret
stirring, a small gold bird on a spring
suddenly appearing to sing a small song
of regret, elation, that overspills all private
bounds, although you ask, as I do, what now
do we sing to, sing for? Before the Great War,
I made a diamond-studded coach three inches high
with rock crystal windows and platinum wheels
to ceremoniously convey a speechless egg to Court.
All for a bored Czarina! My version of history
fantastic and revolutionary as I reduced the scale
to the hand-held dimensions of a fairy tale,
hiding tiny Imperial portraits and cameos
in eggs of pearl and bone. Little bonbons, caskets!
The old riddle of the chicken and the egg
is answered thus: in the Belle Epoque
of the imagination, the egg came first, containing,
as it does, both history and uncertainty, my excesses
inducing unrest among those too hungry to see
the bitter joke of an egg one cannot eat.
Oblique oddity, an egg is the most beautiful of all
beautiful forms, a box without corners
in which anything can be contained, anything
except Time, that old jeweler who laughed
when he set me ticking. Here, among the clocks
and watches of a country precisely ordered
and dying, I am not sorry, I do not apologize.
Three times I kiss you in memory
of that first Easter, that first white rising,
and send this message as if it could save you:
Even the present is dead. We must live now
in the future. Yours, Fabergé.

--------

We had less than an inch of new snow on the ground on Friday morning, but Paul worked from home to avoid potential traffic entanglements, so we hung out with Adam listening to music, eating soup and cheese for lunch, and eventually watching Boy Erased now that it's streaming because I'd meant to see it in the theater weeks ago -- Crowe, Kidman, and Hedges are wonderful and for the most part the directing is nicely restrained, but there's a horrible rape scene about which no one warned me and I felt like in the effort to keep the parents humanized, the kid's trauma doesn't get explored deeply enough.

While Paul was on a call with the office, I went out to a Kyogre raid in the park. We had dinner with my parents, who wanted to hear about Adam's trip and gave me a late birthday present, a birthstone ring which I've wanted for a long time. We came home for Blindspot -- not sure I believe Zapata though I wish I could -- and were going to put on a movie, but we thought Adam had just gone upstairs for a few minutes to Skype his girlfriend and an hour later realized he was probably asleep, so we watched the Australian Open instead. Here are some of the Faberge eggs and luxury itemws that we saw at Hillwood last weekend:

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Frame and vase with cornflowers by Faberge.

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Grand Duke Pavel's Regimental desk clock with music box chime.

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Yusupov Egg (also a clock) and surprise with miniature of Yusupov's son.

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Belt buckle, hat pin, lipstick holder, and perfume bottle by Faberge.

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Blue Serpent Clock Egg, on loan from Prince Albert of Monaco, once a gift from Czar Nicholas II to his mother.

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The Twelve Monogram Egg, a permanent resident at Hillwood, acquired by Post in 1949 after being owned by Maria Fedorovna to commemorate her long marriage to Alexander III.

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Silver and enamel dishes and gifts by Faberge.

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An incense burner easter egg by Eugene Fontenay that may have inspired Faberge.
lrpenguin
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