Still life in colour

They were sitting in La Barantine in Bruntsfield, at one of the two tables that gave a good view of the passers-by on the pavement directly outside. It was at such an hour of the morning that the sunlight, slicing over the high roof-tops, cast a square of buttery light on their table. Before them were two steaming cups of milky coffee, their foamy surfaces decorated with a delicate fern-leaf pattern. Vuillard or Bonnard might have painted this scene, thought Isabel: the tables, their covers, the display case of delicacies – it was all a tiny island of colour and comfort that would not have been out of place in an intimiste painting: Man and woman in a cafe, morning, perhaps, or Mme Dalhousie prend du cafe avec M. Stevenson. She liked the titles given to paintings; they could be so pithy and poetic, first lines of an incomplete haiku.

– from The Novel Habits of Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith (Abacus, 2016)

Le journal illustre, now known as Woman Reading, was painted by Impressionist Edouard Manet in Paris in about 1880 and forms part of the Mr and Mrs Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection at the Art Institute Chicago. Image: Art Institute Chicago

winter evening
an unbought brioche
under glass

Jennifer Popolis, The Wonder Code (2017)

early evening rain –
the man at the bar
folds his paper into quarters

Sandra Simpson, The Heron’s Nest 15.3 (2013)

tea ceremony —
it begins & ends
with an empty cup 

Stanford M Forrester, The Signature Haiku Anthology (2020)

Le Déjeuner des canotiers or Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-August Renoir dates from 1881. It is now owned by The Phillips Collection in Washington DC. Image: Wikipedia

the coffee turns
to wine

Tom Clausen, The Wonder Code (2017)

river dripping
from both the oars
one last wish

Sharon Pretti, Another Trip Around the Sun (2019)

near evening …
willow shadows return
to the river

Mohsen Farsani, The Wonder Code (2017)


Lilliput Libraries

A nice piece of serendipity this morning when I heard the irrepressible Ruth Arnison being interviewed on National Radio about Lilliput Libraries – I came across my first one, number 251, recently on Stewart Island / Rakiura.

The Rakiura Lilliput Library is next to Beaks and Feathers in Oban. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Ruth started the Lilliput Library project 8 years ago in Dunedin as a personal endeavour, although has since passed it on to the various communities while still co-ordinating it. Number 302 has just opened in Invercargill, and the project has extended to Queensland. Listen to the interview here (15 mins).

I was delighted to find a book I wanted to read, and even happier to be able to replace it with one I had enjoyed.

Ruth was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in 2018 for her services to poetry and literature, which includes Poems in the Waiting Room (ended last year) and Step Sisters. The interview includes her thoughts on the importance of reading for children.

I’ve posted about cute community libraries before, after seeing one in Iran and one in the United States.