‘Vermeer’, by Wisława Szymborska

So long as that woman from the Rijksmuseum
in painted quiet and concentration
keeps pouring milk day after day
from the pitcher to the bowl
the World hasn’t earned
the world’s end.

[Source: The New York Review of Books; translated from Polish by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak]


  1. I’ve been to the Rijksmuseum – beautiful painting (& poem). Is it the ‘milk of human kindness’?

    I’m reading some Robert Frost at the moment – hope you like this little beauty:

    Beyond Words

    That row of icicles along the gutter
    Feels like my armory of hate;
    And you, you….you, you utter….
    You wait!


  2. I have, in the past, enjoyed the study of Vermeer’s paintings. I really relish in the capturing of everyday life he has whilst still expressing much more than the casual eye can see. And now to have the simple yet deep poem to lay near it all is wonderful!


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