Girl With A Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

Look at me not,
Yet I persistently stare.
Eye contact would be fatal:
Flush flesh would freeze into rough rock.
Perseus thought he slayed me —
That was a myth.

Fact is found in my painted portrait of “feminine innocence.”
Serpentine hair tamed under coiled turban;
Forked tongue hidden behind roseate lip;
Pearl earring cooled by reptilian blood.
A reflective orb resembling a silvery mirror —
Let that be your shield.

The color cracks just as my scaly skin sheds.
I have patiently posed throughout the years
With my head forever angled in mid-revolution.
Waiting, waiting…
I have no Siren song to tempt,
Nor Persephone’s pomegranate to feed you.

All I have is the immense mystery
That plagues your curiosity — humanity’s coercive curse —
Until it is solved.
To die with no denouement is a tragedy.
To breathe your last knowing you will be forgotten
Is a far worse fate.

Look at me — plead for posterity.
I can make you more immortal than any powerful rhyme.
Paper burns and ink fades while stone still stands.
They say this is the “Golden Age,” but I prefer alabaster, granite, marble.
Your lifeless, lifelike monument will be preserved from all sluttish time.
Live in this.

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The featured image is “Girl with a Pearl Earring” (c. 1665) by Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) and is in the public domain, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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