Francis Ponge Orange

Like the sponge the orange wishes to regain its shape after it has endured expression. But where the sponge always succeeds, the orange never does: its cells have burst, its tissues have been torn. The rind alone retains its shape by grace of its elasticity; meanwhile an amber liquid spreads itself distributing the refreshment of sweet smells. Naturally. But often as well the bitter consciousness of a premature expulsion of seeds.

Must we choose sides between these two forms of resistance to oppression? The sponge is nothing but a muscle filled with air, with clean or dirty water; these exercises are ignoble. An orange tastes better than a sponge, but it's too passive. Its fragrant sacrifice repays the oppressor with something he doesn't deserve.

But we have not said enough of the orange if we only recall its peculiar function of perfuming the air and pleasing its executioner. We must focus on the glorious color of the liquid that, better than lemon juice, force the larynx open wide enough to pronounce the word as well as for drinking it, without causing the lips to pucker or the tongue to recoil.

There are no words to express the admiration deserved by this tender, delicate, and rosy oval balloon, its thick absorbent humid flesh whose epidermis is very thin but highly pigmented, tastefully caustic, stippled just enough to catch the light and display the fruit's perfect form.

But at the end of this too brief (if thoroughly rounded) study we must come to the point, or pip. This grain with the shape of a miniature lemon displays on its outside the color of the white wood of a lemon tree, while inside it's pea-green, a tender spark. We discover inside a sensational explosion, a firework of flavors, colors and perfumes emanating from the fruited ballon itself. It's all in the seed--the relative hardness and greenness (in itself not tasteless) of the wood, of the branch, of the leaf--everything in miniature, the raison d'etre of the fruit.


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