It was a table laid for men of good will. Who could be the actual expected guests who hadn’t come? But it really was for us. So that woman gave away her best to just anyone? And contentedly washed the feet of the first stranger. Embarrassed, we stared. The table had been spread with a solemn abundance. Piled on the white tablecloth were stalks of wheat. And red apples, enormous yellow carrots, plump tomatoes nearly bursting their skin, watery-green chayote, pineapples malignant in their savagery, calm and orangey oranges, gherkins spiky like porcupines, cucumbers wrapped taut round their watery flesh, hollow red peppers that stung our eyes— all entangled with strands and strands of corn silk, reddish as near a mouth. And all those grapes. They were the deepest shade of purple grape and could hardly wait for the moment they’d be crushed. And they didn’t care who crushed them. The tomatoes were plump to please no one: for the air, for the plump air. […]

We kept eating. Like a horde of living beings, we gradually covered the earth. Busy like people who plow for their existence, and plant, and harvest, and kill, and live, and die, and eat.

~ Clarice Lispector, “The Sharing of Loaves.” The Complete Stories (New Directions. 2015)




  1. Beverly Binder says:

    Just finished reading with the girls. Will change and on my way….

    ~ Bev

    Liked by 1 person

  2. what powerful imagery here –

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of my favorite writers of all time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The description of the food is Proustian. What I like about this passage is the subtle reminder to stop now and then to notice things and to appreciate things.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Jordan Richardson says:

    Reminiscent of Mary washing Christ’s feet, I presume. Lovely and terrifying and naturally evocative of the things we shove aside while we busy ourselves with abundance.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This passage grabbed me like a fist…the imagery “pineapples malignant in their savagery…” And the evocation: “We kept eating. Like a horde of living beings, we gradually covered the earth…” I immediately saw a swarm of locust, destroying everything in its path. This is the way I dream of writing….

    Liked by 2 people

  7. That’s fabulous…pretty near primal.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: