Haibun Today
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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 4, Number 2, June 2010


Mary Mageau
Samford, Queensland, Australia

 

Banquets

Before us hangs ‘Still Life with Golden Goblet’ by Pieter de Ring. From Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, we view a selection of its finest seventeenth century Dutch paintings. I observe his lavishly rendered bread, sea food and grapes—so luscious I long to eat them. Amazed by the contrast between the vivid red lobster and the rich table covering, I remark, ‘This is one of the artist’s finest works yet he never signed the canvas.’ ‘Oh, but he has,’ my partner replies. ‘De Ring loved a puzzle so look again more carefully.’ As I study the picture, I see it—a painted silver ring, resting under the lobster’s claw.

lapis lazuli
mined in Afghanistan
crushed into pigment—
ultramarine cloth
and decorative bowl

Leaving the gallery we make our way through green rolling hills toward the Bardellini farmhouse. An eighty-fifth birthday is being celebrated. Four long tables have been set up on the lawn under the trees. Guests stand and raise their glasses while the patriarch is escorted to his place of honour. He greets us, then raises his knife and fork. Platters of food appear as the tables groan under the weight of antipasta, fresh breads, garden salads and Tuscan hot dishes. The animated conversation flows freely, together with quantities of red wine.

recalling
a long dusty road
and tall cypress trees
your first postcard
from Sienna

 


 

 

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