on Vermeer...
by Diana Gordon

Vermeer in Whispers*

 

image

Image used with permission
copyright Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

image

 

There are whispers,
almost hauntings
that touch at you deeply,
felt at some core level.
A familiar knowing and longing,
that draws your attention
to some other non-place.

Such is the name Vermeer.

I heard it on the radio,
A half-awake ad.
Six pieces about Vermeer.
Or was it about
six Vermeer pieces?

Last year I read a book,
because of its cover.
Girl with a Pearl Earring.
A book of such
exquisite craftsmanship,
it was like reading
a Vermeer painting.

Imagine
     to paint
   or write
       or draw
   or sing...
               exquisitely.

In a dream
I was to see the film.
I was in the film!
He was dark and magnificent,
seething with inner sensuality
and intelligence.

That morning I heard
the radio talk.
Vermeer’s paintings
his use of perspective
the camera obscura,
the photographic quality
of his light.

Reaching for my
London-bought book,
The Girl looked out at me.
“I painted you once,” I told her.

I looked at his beautiful tableaux
neither fixed nor static,
   a woman reading a letter
       an expectant breath
        the forever-pouring milk
    a maid’s patience.

His carefully arranged interiors
quiet, formal and unmoving
framing a single moment;

   an interruption
    a thought
   a glance
     not frozen,

     but
       continuing forever
        to be

        an intake…(aaahh)

               of breath...

*Poem published in Hammered Out,
Issue 7, October 2005, Hamilton