Paul Gauguin. The First Flowers, 1888. Wikipaintings

Maela has always been reckless and emotional. When the miller threatened to kill the litter of kittens he found in the woodpile, Maela bawled and brought them home.  When a wandering folk singer strolled into town, Maela had to be led home by the hand, blushing and giggling. And now that Maela has seen this patch of violets, she’s decided she simply must sit among them.

single honeybee /
kisses velvet-soft petals /
of white violets /

“Oh, Katarin,” she moans, “Aren’t they lovely? Come here and brush your fingers across their faces.”

I’d much rather go home; the sky is tinted orange and evening is here. Respectable women don’t wander alone in the woods and fields. It isn’t done.

sea of violets /
flushed peach by the sunset /
in nodding white waves /

“Really, Maela.  Some days I cannot believe we are sisters.” I place my hands on my hips – in the pose that Maela calls “the militant matron”.  “Stop wallowing on the ground like an animal,” I scold.

Maela shrugs, then wipes her hands on her apron. Her face is drawn and has lost all its wonder. Perhaps I went too far.

another day spent /
milking cows and washing clothes – /
I am drowning //

white violets

First ImagePaul Gauguin. The First Flowers, 1888. Wikipaintings.

Second Image: from a walk


8 thoughts on “The First Flowers (Haibun – Gauguin Poems)

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