Then later in the afternoon the sunlight hits the surfaces of a mirror ball by my desk, a mirror ball that sits on the back of the statue of a scarlet elephant.
(Carmel Bird, ‘The witch, the elephant—and Here Comes the Sun’)
From THE WHITE GARDEN (1995)
When I saw that Robin Cadwallader had recently published a novel titled ‘The Book of Colours’, I went back to my novel ‘The White Garden’ in which there is a long section called ‘The Book of Colours’. This one of mine is narrated by St Teresa of Avila. She is reflecting on moments in her life, taking as her prompt her memories of different colours.
Here is her piece on ‘The Cinnamon Walls of the Incarnation Convent’:
“I crossed the humped bridge over the little stream, and soon I saw the elms, their bare branches black amongst the snow, etched against the cinnamon walls of the Incarnation. I paused, small, and I drew in my breath. The crisp air entered my throat and lungs, and I felt an intense pain. Summoning all my resolve, I crossed the vestibule where the floor was cobbled and the…
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I recall the joyful days when, together as one, we steered our course, our long blue tails flexed against the air, through the tip tops of the caraiba.
(Carmel Bird, ‘Extinction of species―Spix’s macaw, a love letter to Lola’)
I can’t recall when I first saw the picture of Mathinna in colour, but I had imagined that her dress was pink. In fact it is red. The redness seems now to be somehow very significant. I recall my mother telling me that it was actually right to put red shoes on little girls, but wrong to put red shoes on little boys. In fact I really expected Mathinna should have been wearing a white dress. I would have given her a white dress, I thought. Did somebody agonise over the colour? Or was it just that there was a handy piece of red cloth?
(Carmel Bird, ‘Mathinna’)