‘Vermeer’s Milk Maid’ by Esther Morgan

Vermeer’s Milk Maid

I want to steal this picture –
the stillness of the girl’s averted face
as she concentrates on a ribbon of milk,
oblivious of my presence.

This is a moment of balance,
like the rounded belly of the pitcher
hefted in her palm, the endless shift
of weight from vessel to vessel.

It’s like observing someone at prayer –
my mother framed in the misted kitchen window,
her eyes closed and no way of knowing
what it was she was asking for.
(from The Silence of Living in Houses, Bloodaxe 2005)
Esther Morgan‘s three collections are published by Bloodaxe, her most recent, Grace, was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize.

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