3 thoughts on “Rembrandt’s self-portraits, video

  1. PIETER DE HOOCH, 1659
    (for Gordon Woods)

    Oblique light on the trite, on brick and tile –
    Immaculate masonry, and everywhere that
    Water tap, that broom and wooden pail
    To keep it so. House-proud, the wives
    Of artisan pursue their thrifty lives
    Among scrubbed yards, modest but adequate.
    Foliage is sparse, and clings. No breeze
    Ruffles the trim composure of those trees.

    No spinet-playing emblematic of
    The harmonies and disharmonies of love;
    No lewd fish, no fruit, no wide-eyed bird
    About to fly its cage while a virgin
    Listens to her seducer, mars the chaste
    Precision of the thing and the thing made.
    Nothing is random, nothing goes to waste:
    We miss the dirty dog, the fiery gin.

    That girl with her back to us who waits
    For her man to come home for his tea
    Will wait till the paint disintegrates
    And ruined dykes admit the esurient sea;
    Yet this is life too, and the cracked
    Out-house door a verifiable fact
    As vividly mnemonic as the sunlit
    Railings that front the houses opposite.

    I lived there as a boy and know the coal
    Glittering in its shed, late-afternoon
    Lambency informing the deal table,
    The ceiling cradled in a radiant spoon.
    I must be lying low in a room there,
    A strange child with a taste for verse,
    While my hard-nosed companions dream of war
    On parched veldt and fields of rain-swept gorse;

    For the pale light of that provincial town
    Will spread itself, like ink or oil,
    Over the not yet accurate linen
    Map of the world which occupies one wall
    And punish nature in the name of God.
    If only, now, the Maenads, as of right,
    Came smashing crockery, with fire and sword,
    We could sleep easier in our beds at night.

    © 1982, Derek Mahon

    Poem of the Week:

    Derek Mahon page:


  2. Pingback: Rembrandt, new Internet site | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Rembrandt self-portrait exhibition in England | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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