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from Five Sonnets

on paintings by Vermeer


The Little Street


Listen.  The clop of wooden soles still sounds

along this crudely cobbled alleyway,

a washerwoman sings a rondelet,

and two young truants haggle over rounds

of jacks.  Somewhere an unseen bell resounds,

tolling the passage of an August day;

yet nothing moves.  These shutters never sway.

These children never leave their checkered bounds

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.


Alan Sullivan



Notes for students:

rondelet = a song with a recurring refrain


Alan Sullivan

First printed in The Dark Horse.

Reprinted by permission of the author.

Background by
Kelly's Web

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