Basket of Fruits

Staring at Caravaggio’s Canestra di frutta prompted me to shake off the heaviness of mind and lightness of body to get to my writing desk with determination and zeal.

Oh! Who wouldn’t? Just look at the summer fruits so carefully plucked and jumbled in a wicker basket. Oh! How I fear the basket might tumble down from the edge of the ledge it has been so carelessly perched upon.


I can imagine the liquid essence of the fruits, crushed out by my molar, sticking onto the walls of my mouth with a tenacious and eye-closing sweetness. Though at first sight the painting is very attractive and tempting, a finer eye (that I lack) would discover the hidden imperfectness detailed in so brilliantly and intentionally – blighted leaves developing from the stems, the skin of the fruits mined by moth that I would have ground out of jealousy, the especial grapes ripe beyond what is natural and glistening with hyperbole, and the texture of peach that looks too hard to bite.

Maybe the master had such a basket with such fruits laid behind his canvas. Or maybe he wanted to convey the underlining mistakes ingrained in every creation of God – of either the mind or body – subtly hinting at what life is through this still-life.

Or maybe we just have to move on after our mind is satiated upon repeated viewings of this art. Too much thinking, though it brings perspective to the table, might well taint whatever was the original purpose.

If there is one thing I am granted to covet, it would be not a fruit from that basket, but the empty container itself. I would want to keep its fragrance intact for all my years, at the corner of the writing table I am now sitting at, so that it inspires me to keep writing through the thick and thin of so imperfect a life.