On Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring

The gold waterfall of her turban,
its lazuli bands, are brought into relief,
nuanced, by the sombre, subversive shades
lurking in folds, cupping chin and cheekbones,
and sculpting the richest garments one might wish for
to clothe human hope and sweet promise.

The chaste collar, the pearl’s milky arc
chime with the sheened whiteness of her hazel eyes;
in their depths – transparent, forever
unknown to us – I read of fears mastered.
She stands poised at the meeting points between
youth and fate, between flesh and eternity.
Her diamond self waits, her angled gaze tests
the contract between seeing and believing.