Friday, September 21, 2012

Another One for Rita, Hunchback Dwarf Forager

No beauty sleep for her 
Who recognizes all those uncommon 
Lovely greens one needs to know, 
Sets off before the morning 
Sun can wilt them, sells them after
For a pretty penny to housewives 
Too busy trying not to look ugly 
To get up and go.


  1. ACT ION = BEAUTY... touched by the first delicate golden rays of morning sun.

  2. coincidence that you shld mention "actions"as I am just into Chapter Four :
    Actions: the principle cause and effect.

    in The Words of My Perfect Teacher

    (which I find en toto here:

  3. Tom,

    You have seen everything there is to see in this picture....and more.


    Thanks for the link which I've bookmarked and will savor shortly.

    As for Rita, here are some lovely vignettes illustrating her tenacious salesmanship--from John Levy’s We Don’t Kill Snakes Where We Come From: Two Years in a Greek Village.

    January 18 [1984]

    I was in my study when I heard a knock on the front door. When I opened the door I saw the dwarf who lives in a nearby village. She was walking back out to the street, and I realized she must have knocked several times before I heard. I called and she returned, came back with a big bunch of narcissus tied together with a string. Radiant yellow bouquet. I asked her how much. Fifty [drachmas, now about 7 euro cents].
    She rides a small bicycle. We have smiled at each other in Meligalas for months but before today never exchanged anything more than standard greetings. I like her, was very happy to by something from her. Vassilis told me she makes her living by selling seasonal things that can be gathered in the countryside: greens, snails, wild asparagus, flowers.
    I wonder if now she will come every once in a while with something seasonal. That would be nice.
    Ten minutes after I typed the above paragraph there was another knock. It was her again, and again she had a bunch of narcissus. She handed it to me, seeming certain I would take it. And I did. I smiled as I paid. She looked up at me seriously.

    January 20

    Awakened this morning by a knocking on the front door. It was the dwarf with three bunches of narcissus which she held out to me. I couldn’t think of what to say. Leslie and I have been talking about how we are low on money this week. The dwarf looked up silently, continuing to hold the flowers out. I asked her to wait and went to talk with Leslie. We agreed to buy one. The dwarf is serious about her business and didn’t smile.

    January 21

    The dwarf came again today. Leslie and I were in the kitchen. The dwarf must have knocked at the front door a number of times before going round the house, up the back stairs, and across the terrace, to knock at the kitchen door. Now we have four bunches of narcissus.
    After she left, I wondered what she thinks. After all, we live in a small house; why would we want four big bunches of narcissus in the space of three days? We put one in my study, one in our bedroom, one in the kitchen, and we took the fourth over to Vassilis’s mother for her nameday.

    January 22

    Woke up this morning to a knocking on the front door. The dwarf had left a bouquet of narcissus at the threshold and was walking away. I took the flowers and walked out to her to hand them back. She said she had many and pointed to where she’d parked her little bicycle at the corner. Several bunches of narcissus were tied to the metal rack above the back tire.
    I said that today we didn’t want any. She repeated, in a friendly way, she had many. I walked with her to the corner, trying to think of what else I could say in Greek. “Now we have many and today we don’t want any more,” I said, “but thank you very much.” She smiled and accepted the flowers.

  4. What an open, direct expression that's set off, as mentioned, by the sunlight.

  5. Kevin,

    As the poem states, Rita is an early riser and I see her quite often when I go by her house on my bicycle; this time I was fortunate to have the morning sun as an accomplice.


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