Margaret Olley, 1980, oil on board, 76.5 × 101.5 cm
A blue sky canvas frames a couple of vases,
a couple of bowls, and the fifth wheel:
a small plate crossed diagonally
by a tool in repose. The vases flourish
with scarlet proteas and sea green bract. The bowls –
one a green banana boat swept up at the sides
as if by Snow White’s housekeeping birds,
the other snow white with a cool mint stripe –
hold snooker ball apples, shiny as eyeballs,
four symmetric and forming a four-leaf clover.
The plate is empty and small. Was it used
for buttering at ten to four?
for paring fruit at twenty past ten?