Haibun for a home

This is where I was this afternoon. A tram ride from the centre of Bordeaux.


I saw a house today with acacias shaded, bee-strung and scented. I saw a house built with care, with windows placed to catch the light and rooms just so, no more than we would need. I saw a house like a canvas by Mondrian, squares of colour, clear as spring water, dense as earth. I saw an elderly house, misunderstood in its youth, tired and flaking, acacia-scented and full of window light.

It’s quiet there, among the coloured cubes and the trees, and the air of hope after the Great War and before the Depression still lingers, changed now and surer of itself. We look at these pure lines, with no decoration and bourgeois fioritures, in the colours of the earth, the sea and the sky, without the distrustful, conservative eye of the worker. We feel no obligation to stick to our lowly station and lower our eyes. Cloud-white prevails, dappled by sunlight through waving branches, and the fluttering wings of birds.

I would like to take this house and strip away the years and the botched jobs, an old man’s last misery, and fill it with the pure light of the south. Perhaps I will.


Spring to summer light

flits bird-like through scented trees,

feels like coming home.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

14 thoughts on “Haibun for a home”

    1. It’s not the country house that is still waiting for us to get the funds to do it up comfortably. This is one of Le Corbusier’s workers homes out at Pessac, next door to Chateau Pape Clement. It’s another dead cheap place that just needs some twits to buy it and restore it…

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