V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




The boy with Vermeer eyes
in Michael Sweert's small painting Boy with a Hat
seems to gaze wishfully at the painting beside him,
Sabastino del Piombo's Portrait of a Man in Armor.

The spectacularly fine-looking armored man
holds power in reserve;
he's ready to command, like any armored thing,
his hair wildly strewn as if from our 60's.

He does not return the boy's questioning look.
In my fantasy I feel him thinking:
Who are you? I rest at ease,
holding my studded war-hammer.

The boy, pendulous underlip near trembling,
pretty and wondering as a girl,
all curls beneath his floppy shepherd's hat,
I can imagine he might question

if he would someday carry that
same manly insouciance.
A woman, considering these two side-by-side,
might wish to mother the gentle boy

and wonder how the armored man,
without his metal clothing
might come to her
were he disarmed by beauty:

worshipful, vulnerable to beauty's power,
as tender and questing as a boy
shorn of his shining gauntlet
and dark mail.

© by Barry Spacks



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