The three Rs


(For Robbin T Milne)

Rilke, Rodin, Rembrandt

all made for reading

all fit for writing

all writhing with the rhythm of arithmetic life

the precision of patience

lichenlike.

Three men on a mission

To scribe with a steely sense of solitude,

to shape with stoney sight

to paint faces in the light of night

I met Rembrandt alone,

beard like waterfall,

watching stars.

Rodin lost in thought

on a bench

across the street from a brothel

I passed Rilke in a vacuum,

listening to water boatmen

making solitude sing.

I found out later

they all supported the same football team

Picture-painters on the pitch.


The French sculptor Auguste Rodin said, “Compare me with Rembrandt! What sacrilege! With Rembrandt, the colossus of Art! We should prostrate ourselves before Rembrandt and never compare anyone with him!”[