“The Girl Not Wearing (At Just This Moment) The Pearl Earring” (From Steen to Vermeer)

Jan Steen, “Sick Woman,” 1665

Every week Tess Kincaid of Magpie Tales posts a pictorial prompt to be used as a writing exercise.  This week’s was a very cool painting by Jan Steen which brought to my mind a similar painting (at least in terms of costuming) by Johannes Vermeer (posted below.)  I am also linking this to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night, hosted by Joe Hesch.


The Girl Not Wearing (At Just This Moment) The Pearl Earring

She found a model’s life not as portrayed.
Hours sitting passed as years – her mind glazed
like the buffed veneers –
And talk about Vermeer–Johannes V.==
He demanded picture perfect, that was he!
She had to stand too==ugh!  While jolly old Jan S.,
leavened sessions with a partner, so, “why, yes,”
she’d said, to the palpating of posed wrist,
and yes again when palpate took a twist
from arm to breast to hip to inner thigh
as they’d played ‘doctor’–not so patient–(sigh….)

Which meant:  she stood once more for Master V.
who didn’t mind the curve of tummy’s “C.”
The jacket still fit great–okay, so maybe
the skirt waist had to be let out–”Don’t worry,” Johannes said,
“for now just please, oh please, don’t move your head.”

Johannes Vermeer, “Woman Holding a Balance”, around 1665

Check out both dVerse and Magpie Tales. And, also, if you have time, check out my books! Poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco). 1 Mississippi -counting book for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms, or Nose Dive, a very fun novel that is perfect for a pool or beachside escape. Nose Dive is available on Kindle for just 99 cents!

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37 Comments on ““The Girl Not Wearing (At Just This Moment) The Pearl Earring” (From Steen to Vermeer)”

  1. Irish Gumbo Says:

    Rather cheeky, those Dutch masters…nice take on the prompt 🙂

  2. This is awesome:

    “and yes again when palpate took a twist
    from arm to breast to hip to inner thigh
    as they’d played ‘doctor’–not so patient–(sigh….)”

    You are hilarious. 🙂 And always so clever!

  3. Berowne Says:

    Very enjoyablel take on this prompt…

  4. Helen Says:

    Utterly fascinating ~~ the same garments!!! Great writing too …

  5. hedgewitch Says:

    Cracking me up, k. Not so patient, indeed. Pun-ishing writing. Also like veneer/Vermeer–but I can’t say those little fuzzy coats do much for a woman’s style. They remind me of old-fashioned bed jackets…which I guess would fit your theme.

  6. David King Says:

    Very clever. Intriguing what you have done here, and done so well. I’m full of admiration, both for the idea and the execution.

  7. brian miller Says:

    ha. fun on some level, pun-full on others….smiles…can you imagine having to stand there for so long….played doctor, not so patient….ha

  8. Kutamun Says:

    Brillant perception, she is sick alright , of these buggers prodding her !, well deduced

  9. kelly Says:

    ha, big smiles, all the way through. great interpretation!

  10. poetrydiary Says:

    I enjoyed this – lots of narrative and ideas behind the words, well-written.

  11. Mama Zen Says:

    This is so clever! I love it!

  12. ayala Says:

    Clever write, Karin. Nicely done.

  13. Picturesque, pithy, and plenty of cheek…methinks I like it much too much this exploration of artist and model in wordplay extraordinaire!

  14. oh! wonderful take on the prompt!

  15. Myrna Says:

    Ha. I love your love of art and how you’ve merged it with humor here. Really good write.

  16. You work that image beautifully. It dictates the content of your exceptionally. The painter painted with oil, and you–with words. Such is the compliment I offer.

  17. PJF Sayers Says:

    Pithy, is correct, Karin. I got a chuckle out of this, that opening is priceless. Good take on the painting.


  18. apshilling Says:

    A popping response to such a great picture !

    I really like what you did with it

    made me go 😀 out loud 😀

  19. Very creative piece. I love veneer/Vermeer, yes playing doctor.

  20. Steve King Says:

    What great imagination and creativity bringing these wonderful images into the same vision…fun to write (I’m sure) and certainly a joy to read. Fine job in all respects.

  21. haha…what a fun write…started smiling when i read the title and what follows doesn’t disappoint at all…smiles

  22. poemsofhateandhope Says:

    ha ha ha- thanks for putting a smile on my face…the last line had me chuckling! this is a beaut! loving the way your mind works

  23. vbholmes Says:

    Fun take on the prompt–good storytelling. And congratulations on having a good eye and an outstanding memory!

  24. hypercryptical Says:

    Clever stuff – very enjoyable!

    Anna :o]

  25. Margaret Says:

    This is fascinating and I love your take. You obviously did your homework and combined it with humor. 🙂

  26. oh i knew i read it already..you really have to watch that film..it’s awesome

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