Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Old Man Reading Scripture

Rembrandt painted multiple portraits of old men praying. Here are two of the most famous.

On Rembrandt's Portrait of an Old Man Reading the Scriptures
by John Finlay (1941-1991)

Exposure salted his grave Northern face.
An unerasable sadness tinged that grace
Of sourceless light glowing on solid form.
Hard winter nights - the isolating storm -
Hiis oil burned out onto the living word.
A man matured in loss, in griefs incurred
By love outside himself, he would expend
His mind on God, still opened to the end.

John Finlay was an Alabama poet and essayist. This poem first appeared in a collection of Finlay's poems titled "Mind and Blood" published a year after his death.

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