Haibun for snapshots of home

This is what I should have written for the dverse prompt, since the illustration was a gift.

In the house where I grew up there was a print of Seurat’s La Grande Jatte on the sitting room wall. I used to think it was Batley Park. In the hallway there was a print of the Madonna from de la Tour’s Le Nouveau-né. I used to think it was a picture of my mother. It looked like her, and she also had a red dressing gown. Funny how for children there is nothing new under the sun.

paintings chime

with memories

like spring flowers


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.

28 thoughts on “Haibun for snapshots of home”

  1. Thank you, Seurat, I got two Jane Dougherty haibun for the price of one!
    I wish we’d had paintings in our council maisonette when we were growing up. My grandparents had hundreds of family photographs, but paintings and prints were lacking. I’ve made up for that in my study, and it explains my love of art galleries! I love your haiku.

  2. I’m imagining your childhood home as the setting for a story, as it was. The associations with the artwork are woven in. Now what shall happen? You know, of course.

    This is a learning work for me, this haibun. Aside from sketches of family members, the artwork hung in our home was typical and not that impressive. I couldn’t find a way into them.

    1. I have very fond childhood memories. Some not so find too, of course, but home was a safe haven full of interest, that I’m always happy to revisit.
      To my mind, the haibun reads best if it’s merely a short prose poem with the required small poem at the end to tie it off. The long, starkly prosaic pieces with a small poem stuck on the end like the tail on a donkey don’t seem to add up to a whole poem to me.

  3. Ha ha! We had a Picasso (print…) on the wall – a woman with a pony tail – that I was absolutely certain was my mother. I’m not sure I ever mentioned that to her…

    1. I bet we all have similar sorts of memories, assimilating completely foreign people, events and epochs into our own childhood lives.
      I did tell my mother, and she remembered the dressing gown.

    1. Thanks Janice. They seem to stock a whole ripple of other memories. I have only to look at that de la Tour and I see my mother’s dressing gown that she hadn’t worn since I was about five years old.

    1. I’m convinced childhood memories are the sharpest because children take everything in and make it their own. As we get older we learn to filter out what we think doesn’t interest us.

    1. So many people have said similar things that I’m sure it’s because children don’t question. They’re not gobsmacked by strangeness they just accept it and make a link to something they’re already very familiar with. But whereas adults forget everything, children remember. The proof!

  4. This made me think of how my older daughter insisted that I was the woman in a Sesame Street video. It was one of the videos they’d show of a real people in their homes.

    1. Exactly. It’s the same thing. We always think of children as being permanently amazed by what they see, but I think it’s slightly different. They accept everything, no matter how improbable or impossible and tuck it away with all the other ‘real’ things. I remember when I started school and I was seated opposite Christine Wilde and Laverne Barrett, the eldest child of the only West Indian family in the town. They said they were sisters and I saw no earthly reason to doubt it was true. They didn’t see why it might be a tall story either.

      1. I remember that scene so well, what they were wearing, and how they had their arms around one another. That should have warned me—I’d never put my arm around my sister 🙂

  5. I love this! You’ve expressed the accepting nature of little ones so well here….so very sweet that you thought the painting was your mother 🙂

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