from Five Sonnets
on paintings by Vermeer
The Little Street
Listen. The clop of wooden soles still
along this crudely cobbled alleyway,
a washerwoman sings a rondelet, °
and two young truants haggle over rounds
of jacks. Somewhere an unseen bell
tolling the passage of an August day;
yet nothing moves. These shutters never
These children never leave their checkered
beside the entryway. The clouds diffuse
a drop of rain or flush with sunset's blush.
No bargeman hauls; no windmill fills a sluice.
Upon some far-off field of war, a truce
as time stands still beneath the artist's brush.
= a song with a recurring refrain
printed in The Dark Horse.
by permission of the author.