A Memorial Poem For Rembrandt (Who Never Had One)

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Rembrandt, you maniac!
While other guys were down at the local tavern,
drinking and playing cards,
-- or off visiting Paris --,
you were in the studio.
Long after your students had left,
there you were, slaving away.
Did your family get sick of posing?
Others painted us as we seem
-- a bit better-looking, I suppose. . . .
You painted us as we are:
proud, sorrowful, hopeful, uncertain.

Where we'd seen only ugliness you found beauty.
The Bible? You made it human:
We felt Christ's pain! Magdalene's astonishment.
You were foolish with your money,
failed to pay your debts.
We forgive you.
You were stubborn, mean, obsessed.
You loved us
only when you were painting us.
We forgive you.
You worked on your own paintings
instead of ones which might have sold at higher prices,
ones which might have paid your debts.
We forgive you.
Because your art is so incomparably beautiful
we forgive you.

Hear Jerry/Lucius read this poem.    This poem is part of the Scraps of Faith collection of poems.

Keywords: Rembrandt, funeral poem, eulogy, feeling, painting, artist's selfishness, dedication