Study of a Young Woman, Robert A. Sieczkiewicz
Worry is in my heart, thee I love for.
Thinness of thy smile, trouble is too deep.
Is for me to assure, thy heart too soar.
To set thy course, nev’r again to weep.
Thy heart pure, not totally innocent,
But my heart, will be thy custodian.
Time shall show, that thy will have no lament.
And thy heart, no longer obsidian.
This silken scarf, is given thee to wear.
To protect from all, who do to thee harm.
Solely by its feel, you know I am near.
Danger to thy heart, shall quickly disarm.
This scarf is my love, that shall protect thee,
Near or far, no matter where I may be.
Johannes Vermeer finished this painting in 1667. It is what is referred to a tronie painting or a study of the face common to Dutch painters of the 16th and 17th century. Not meant to be a portrait, but an artist working on a particular technique. Two components in this painting that caught my attention is how Vermeer isolated the young woman’s face using a dark hair bandanna. The other is the scarf. It is not soft and supple as one might expect.
The scarf is more than a piece of clothing to keep the chill off your shoulders but a security blanket. It provides comfort to the wearer. In the poem I use the scarf as a symbol of love and protection. The speaker loves the young woman but you will have to think of what that love means.