Friday, 30 December 2011

Vermeer in Cambridge

So Johan or Johannes or Joannis...
Let us settle for Jan;
You were the toast
of the Dutch Golden Age,
Despite a short life
From 1632 to 1675
Or thereabouts;
You struggled to support
Your eleven children ~
Enough for a cricket team;
Your legacy is thirty-
Two oil paintings on canvas
And two more on wood
They are scattered across
Europe and America
But you can see four
Of them at the
Fitzwilliam Museum
In Cambridge
Until 12th January

Today i saw your pictures
In Cambridge
But not the Girl with
The Pearl Earring;
Instead there were other meisjes,
Or perhaps the same one
Making lace and
Having keyboard lessons
At your house in Delft;
The Lacemaker was quite small
On loan from the Louvre
She is busy with her bobbins
And does not have time
To make movies with
Menheer Firth;
She is smiling shyly
Hoping that her music
Master will notice the lace
Tippet she is finishing;
Soon she will lay aside
The satin cushion
S t r e t c h
And look out
Of the casement window
At the bustle of
Delft's quayside;
Glimpsing her
Music master
Walking past the
Oude Kerk
Munching a
Maatjes herring,
She hopes that
He will not leave
Greasy marks on
Her virginals


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