Home  »  library  »  prose  »  The Kitchen

C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Kitchen

By Emile Verhaeren (1855–1916)

From ‘Six French Poets’: Translation of Amy Lowell

THE THRESHOLD of the kitchen was old and split. The hearth shone like a red puddle, and its flames, incessantly gnawing at the back plate, had eaten into it an obscene subject in melted iron.

The fire rejoiced under the mantelpiece which stretched over it like the penthouse roof over a booth, and the bright ornaments of wood, of copper, of lacquer upon it sparked less to the eyes than the writhing coals.

Rays escaped from it like a spray of emeralds, and here—there—everywhere—gave fillips of brilliance to the glass jugs and glazed platters. To see the sparks fall upon every raised surface, one would have said—into such particles did the fire crumble itself—that the sun had been winnowed through a leaded window.