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Poems Inspired by the The Paintings of Vermeer

Updated on February 17, 2015
chef-de-jour profile image

Andrew has a keen interest in all aspects of poetry and writes extensively on the subject. His poems are published online and in print.

Johannes Vermeer's signature.  There are no known images of Vermeer. (See Painting No 9.)
Johannes Vermeer's signature. There are no known images of Vermeer. (See Painting No 9.) | Source


I hope you'll enjoy these poems from the interior, written over a number of years after studying these wonderful paintings.

Johannes Vermeer was born in Delft in the Netherlands in 1632 and died there in relative poverty in 1675. During this time he created some incredible paintings, the best known of which are his interiors - scenes showing women with letters, maid servants going about their business, mothers-to-be pondering their futures and other domestic events.

Vermeer seems to have been obsessed with natural light - many of his paintings are studies of a figure or two at a window - how it brings life and texture to objects and people in a room. He was able to capture special moments with superb brush work, detail and colour, creating scenes of profound atmosphere that still mesmerise viewers today.

Having lived in the Netherlands for a few years I know how respected and loved 'Jan' Vermeer is. I think primarily they respect his technical skills and composition but also are intrigued by the stories the subjects have to tell. Looking at his work you can be drawn right into the quiet space where the light he painted lives on. Ordinary days made extraordinary.

The following poems relate to the interiors and the life going on within them.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Young Woman Asleep

Source

Dawn's broken

promise

an open door

into light.

Mischief conceals

itself.


Above, the master

stirs.


Last night is

in the next room;

future like glass

scratched.

Today will be a chair

turned the wrong way.


Revellers wonder if

your immaculate skin

ever needed a mask.


Pretend you're

not there.

Last night

was sweet and imperfect

let's say

like an over-ripe

plum.

__________________________________________

The Milkmaid

Source


Vermeer's leftover crusts

pile up in front of her eyes.

He's on a diet of light

shaping the shadowy hours,

arresting things in a room.


Eat that blue. Lick the off white.

Colours so rich your tongue

might see.

Meanwhile milk pours,

there's concentration fixed like a corner

tight around her chest and

facing work, strong in her

jug to bowl

existence,

you want to say be seated, feet up,

take a day off.

.................................................................................................................


A Lady and Two Gentleman

Source


I am sitting in a room

daydreaming -


bring in the wine

I said to nobody


bring me the letter

that challenges the light.


You stand watching

my insides tremble

as I enter the dream.


I will not crack like porcelain,

even though you see through me;


now

bring me the cloned poets

I can forever greet,


depress, send into imaginary

realms.


I am returning to the painter

his witty, naughty joke.


____________________________________________________________



Girl Interrupted At Her Music

Source


See the sheen on the lute and the glance

of the girl

and the man shadowy wax and you reluctant

to ask

why she looks for some reply

and

see the sheet music plonked like that

it's not natural

this permanent distraction,

the silence between

strummed chords.


........................................................................................................

The Astronomer

Source


How to play God.

A slight adjustment

of the cosmic globe

and who knows

where time goes?

Dirty right hand controls

space, stars, stories

of the universal soul.

Left hand clean, cool, calm

in angelic light

ready to turn a page.

Deep breath

then animation.

...........................................................................................................

Woman Drinking With A Man

Source


Mornings white wine

soothes my throat

until the light fades

until irritating men

are just figments of

my imagination.


..................................................................................................................

Woman With Scales

Source


In the belly the future kicks out

at the skin of a dark universe

whose costumed strangers are

all here all of the time holding

onto precious things.

In the mind

love debates the pros and cons,

eyes down, beautifully poised.

.................................................................................................................

Woman In Blue Reading A Letter

Source


You expect a story,

a beginning, middle and end

fed like baby's cells

with an umbilical imagination

freeing up the days ahead.

Map, chairs, bairn to be.

Simple. Right?

...............................................................................................................


Girl With The Red Hat

Source


Forget those lips

the face still ripening

after a brisk

walk

through quiet streets


this is total take over

by blood, a scarlet rip

in a plain universe no-one

envisaged could exist on such

a damp Thursday.

...................................................................................................................

The Art Of Painting

Some critics think this could be Vermeer, back against us, refusing to reveal his looks.
Some critics think this could be Vermeer, back against us, refusing to reveal his looks. | Source


It's the sun and

the sensual, the slow capture

of colour.

The more you paint, deeper

into a secret

the brush whispering

a name, a story.

.......................................................................................................................

Vermeer: The Complete Works
Vermeer: The Complete Works

Beautiful reproductions in this Arthur K. Wheelock book

 

Vermeer's Paintings

Copyright chef-de-jour@Hubpages

Help stop stolen content and plagiarism. Please report to author if you suspect this original article has been stolen.

© 2012 Andrew Spacey

Comments

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  • chef-de-jour profile imageAUTHOR

    Andrew Spacey 

    3 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thanks for the supportive comment, appreciated.

  • profile image

    Lee Cloak 

    3 years ago

    A very nice piece of writing, very interesting and very enjoyable, thanks!

  • chef-de-jour profile imageAUTHOR

    Andrew Spacey 

    5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thank you KrisL, much appreciate your comments and tweetings!

    Thank you too whonunuwho, let's hope you get back to the canvas asap!!

  • chef-de-jour profile imageAUTHOR

    Andrew Spacey 

    5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Grateful thanks for the visit and comment. How many of us have the hidden artist inside? There is a canvas waiting to be painted on in every house! If you did paint on that canvas I wonder what sort of picture would emerge?

  • CrisSp profile image

    CrisSp 

    5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

    What a recalling hub to appreciate the beauty of arts. I am an art lover and an aspiring painter with a canvas and easel left alone at the basement. For now, I'm enjoying my writing (and reading). So, maybe when I get tired of writing...which I think is not going to happen. (:

    "a scarlet rip in a plain universe "~

    Lovely poem!

  • whonunuwho profile image

    whonunuwho 

    5 years ago from United States

    This was such an imaginative look into the artist Vermeer and a great displaying of his work. I find your approach quite refreshing and provoking into the life of this painter. I, too, am a painter of sorts and concentrate on landscapes and creatures of the wild. This makes me want to return to my lost art days and paint once again. Thank You for sharing this fine work. whonu

  • KrisL profile image

    KrisL 

    5 years ago from S. Florida

    Wonderful combination of poetry and painting.

    Voted "awesome" and tweeted.

  • chef-de-jour profile imageAUTHOR

    Andrew Spacey 

    5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Many thanks for your visit and comment. An exercise well worth the effort - so fascinating to look into these interiors and find a voice.

  • jhamann profile image

    Jamie Lee Hamann 

    5 years ago from Reno NV

    What an incredible hub with incredible poetry and paintings from the Dutch Master. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing, I am planning on sharing it myself. Jamie

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