Haibun Today

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

Marleen Hulst
Musselkanaal, The Netherlands



guided tour
children gather
around a stray dog

For what was once a bakery, grinding stones and a brick oven are recognizable. In Lupanare, the largest of about 25 brothels in Pompeii ("lupa" is Latin for “prostitute”), we walk through rooms with plain brick beds. We see houses and public baths, admire frescoes and floor mosaics. We stand silently before showcases with the casts of bodies that have remained from that time: a man with bent legs, a clearly pregnant woman on hands and knees.

A half hour before closing time, most tourist groups are gone. It is quiet and peaceful in Pompeii. In the distance, Vesuvius is drawn against a bright late afternoon sky. How will I be able to realize that everything here—houses, streets, squares, people and animals—was buried under a thick layer of ash and pumice for centuries?

the bottom
of a fountain




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