by Elizabeth Jennings
You are confronted with yourself. Each year
The pouches fill, the skin is uglier.
You give it all unflinchingly. You stare
Into yourself, beyond. Your brush's care
Runs with self-knowledge. Here
Is a humility at one with craft.
There is no arrogance. Pride is apart
From this self-scrutiny. You make light drift
The way you want. Your face is bruised and hurt
But there is still love left.
Love of the art and others. To the last
Experiment went on. You stared beyond
Your age, the times. You also plucked the past
And tempered it. Self-portraits understand,
And old age can divest,
With truthful changes, us of fear of death.
Look, a new anguish. There, the bloated nose,
The sadness and the joy. To paint's to breathe,
And all the darknesses are dared. You chose
What each must reckon with.
Photo Source: nga.gov
Rembrandt was 53 when he painted this self-portrait. The other day I saw on Facebook that someone had posted an article about a survey in which people were asked at what age old folks should stop wearing jeans. The result: age 53. So what I want to know now is: if I just have a few years left of wearing jeans, is it OK if I get myself a hat like Rembrandt's? Will the Zeitgeist, which apparently now chooses my wardrobe, permit me that indulgence? If I could paint, I would then paint a self-portrait with a little worried line between my eyes, similar to his. Since I can't paint, I can at least snap a selfie, trying to capture "the sadness and the joy."
Karen Edmisten has the roundup today.