A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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March 2009, vol 5 no 1

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Giselle Maya


late afternoon i am the only person in the museum
a somnolent old building shaded by trees     worn stone stairs
high halls of limestone late summer
a bent human figure in each room
bent on reading     guarding the art     or napping
the painter is far away
present only in his work     the colors envigorate the eye
colors magicked of pigments and oil     imbued with light
I move slowly from room to room
the paintings are spacious     absorbing
full of mirrored images

cat     on a green chair     its blue gaze

le chat     sur une chaise verte     un regard bleu

the paintings encircle me
through the long windows I see fragments
of the town Isle-sur-Sorgue
surrounded by water they become a part
of the paintings and of my own reflection

trois fenetres
un oiseau sur les branches
et un miroir

three windows     a bird in branches     and a mirror

a bird's voice
from green branches
within and without

i walk in silence and savor what the painter has made
with his hands his brushes     imagination
for a short span this afternoon my eyes enter his world

portrait d'une femme     elle me regarde     droit dans les yeux

portrait of a woman
she looks me straight
into the eye

une femme allongeé
elle lit un conte
dans un livre peint

reclining woman     reading a tale     in a painted book

seul sur un étagère
huile sur panneau bois

a teapot     alone on a shelf     oil on wood

un panier de fruits
peches et figues. . .
envie de sentir

a basket of fruit     peaches and figs     the scent of them

The painter has visited Pompei and has witnessed what happened there centuries ago

une femme tient un poisson
juste avant que
la lave

a woman holds up a fish
just before
the lava
rushes in

widening     cracks in the wall     composition in yellow

ils s'elargent     des fissures dans les murs     composition en jaune

un pigeon
sur un mur vert clair-
les autres s'envolent

one pigeon
on a light green wall—
the others take flight

I move reluctantly     my eyes on each painting I accept it as
an offering     a gift     a mirror     transparent
yet in the end I must leave the artist's world
      take with me the soft blues and greens
almost an almond flavor
      indelibly brushed on wood and canvas
by this painter
     whom I have never seen

une fleur
huile sur toile—
dans la cour
un oiseau chante

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