Susan Fealy is a Melbourne-based poet and clinical psychologist who began writing poetry regularly in 2007. She is the winner of the 2010 Henry Kendall Poetry Award and her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies including Best Australian Poems 2009 and Best Australian Poems 2010. She is developing her first full-length collection.
Made in Delft
After The Milkmaid
by Johannes Vermeer
White walls melken the daylight.
In this plain room,
The map of the world
Has been painted over:
Only a woman, blond
Light from the window,
Her wide-mouthed jug,
And bread on the table.
Vision slows at her wrist,
Travels along her forearm.
Her apron cascades
One can almost touch her thick
Waist, her generous shoulders,
Her crisp linen cap.
One can almost taste the milk
Escaping her jug.
The Striped Moth
(In the Melbourne Museum)
At 5pm your wings will hang with shadow.
Now, they feed on light. Do you remember
tapping at the window, frantic as a tiny bell?
Or is your soul composed—a forest of shadows?
A tiger is latched in you: those eyes crouch
like stars and your pelt is soft as a tinderbox.
A tree expands in the veins of your wings––
counts one night and half a dawn––signs off.