small songs I sing
to join
my voice to other voices
hidden in the grass

Friday, December 6, 2013

"I Know Where I Must Go"

On her knees, she scrubs floors by day, paints all night in a candlelit garret.  From some whirling nexus beyond her ken, flowers, fruits and leaves flow from her fingers onto canvas. Form and color rise up and dance.

candlewax, and herbs--
she extracts
essential pigments
from her narrow world

Starving while war boils around her, still she paints the stained-glass gardens of her soul. Someday her paintings will be exhibited in Paris and New York—yet Seraphine Louis will spend her last years in a madhouse.

visions and voices
from another realm—
an eye
embedded in the tree
of life

Haibun Today 7: 4, December 2013

Click here to learn more about  Seraphine Louis and see some of her paintings, including L'Arbe du Paradis, which is mentioned in the second tanka. 


  1. Interesting and beautiful. Your prose is poetic too. Love "whirling nexus..." and "stained-glass gardens..."