KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 6: Fall 2016
Ekphrastic Haibun Story: 146 words

Picking Sunflowers for Van Gogh

by Harriot West

It’s not an easy task. For all his impasto and rough ways with the brush, he’s extraordinarily fussy about his flowers. And he hates it when they droop. Sometimes I see him gently cup a sagging bloom. So tenderly it’s easy to imagine him helping an old woman lug her panier up a rickety flight of stairs. I like him then. Despite how demanding he is to work for. Never a word of thanks. My hands stained with pollen, to say nothing of dust rags that look as though they’ve been steeped in saffron.

It’s a pity he isn’t fonder of roses. Except for those thorns. Lavender perhaps? I’d fancy that. Brushing my fingertips along the stalks, carrying their scent throughout the day, dreaming about a wild man with ginger hair and reckless ways.

heat wave
the honey bee’s
restless thrum

Harriot West
Issue 6, Fall 2016

was born in Boston, grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, and now lives in Eugene, Oregon. She is currently at work on her second book, Shades of Absence, a collection of prose poems. Her first book, Into the Light, a collection of haibun and haiku (Mountains and Rivers Press, 2014) tied for first place in the 2015 Haiku Society of America’s Mildred Kanterman Book Awards.

Publisher’s Note:

The delightful premise of this haibun inspired me to root around online to learn more about how Van Gogh procured the iconic blossoms he painted so lavishly. As Frances Spalding writes in The Guardian: “Theo reported to their mother that Vincent was receiving a fresh delivery of flowers every week from friends” (How Van Gogh’s Sunflowers Came into Bloom, posted in January 2014).

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Featured Writer: Harriot West in Contemporary Haibun Online (Volume 11, Number 1, April 2015); includes “a brief bit of advice” (86 words, in fact) from West on writing haibun, as well as her haibun “A Brief Analysis of Contemporary Society As Seen Through My Eyes”

Until One Day I Said Enough: Harriot West on Haibun, an interview by Jeffrey Woodward in Haibun Today (Volume 9, Number 1, March 2015)

Harriot West and Minimalist Haibun by Ray Rasmussen in Haibun Today (Volume 8, Number 4, December 2014)

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