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5. Imagine what was happening while the artist was creating the piece.


sunflowers in a vase—
day by day the artist paints,
to the smear of yellow
where he bites his brush

Vincent Van Gogh (1853-90)
"Sunflowers", repetition of the 4th version, 1889
Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Author's note: You'll find a lot online about Van Gogh's health, his carelessness in handling his materials, and his love of yellow. Chrome yellow, which he used, had been developed at the end of the 18th century. It contained lead.

A different version of this tanka was in my Ribbons article.