Rembrandt’s Self-portrait aged 63

If it were a history painting it would be
Anchises – Priam – Oedipus perhaps;
or Lot, or Job, or Peter at the end.
If he’d known Shakespeare, then it would be Lear.
But he was doing what he’d always done –
charting humanity in the looking-glass,
anatomising time – so when you see
the smooth washed marble of his younger self
and then this old and pitted mossy stone
you read the years like strata in the rock
and all his losses – wife and mistress, son,
fortune and patrons, home – contracted to
these bone-black suffering eyes and
padlocked mouth.


Lynn Roberts