Today's poem is by William Logan

The Girl with the Pearl Earring

In the Hague, den Haag, the shop
that flogs law books
offers a set of dinner plates
with a justice's black robe on the rim.

Crisis = opportunity.
Opportunity = profit.
Profit = justice.
The Rights of Man has been slashed

to a price anyone can afford.
We shivered as the Mauritshuis cracked its doors.
There she hung, in a paneled room,
a seventeenth-century movie star,

Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring."
A world glowered in that earring—
according to scholars,
it was only a bulb of blown glass

lined with ground fish-scales.
She stared at "A View of Delft"
in her dreamy, stunned, adolescent way—
calculating, a Jonathan Edwards.

Vermeer's vision of Renaissance order,
each brick mortared
in its proper universe.
To reconcile the eye, he wrestled

the city gate toward the viewer
and wrenched old churches
off their foundations.
You can stand by the highway and judge for yourself.

Copyright © 2006 William Logan All rights reserved
from Southwest Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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