March 2019

Back to Issue 5

Tour Guide at the Getty

By Rodney Williams

so next we turn to Rembrandt 
whose Old Man in Military Costume  
is crowned by a plume of ostrich 
brash for battlefield headgear 
despite a sombre palette of browns 
above a riveted martial breast-plate 
gleaming as burnished steel

a limpid spill of light slants down
over this old boy’s listening ear
divided brow
and wispy beard 
across his lunar septum  
casting a half-moon into shadow
with youth long since eclipsed

by every reckoning
past his fighting best 
he is still kitted up for battle 
his moist green eyes askance
left of centre in their focus
oblique in reflecting
all of our ageing …


Getty Museum: Man in Military Costume