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For Pieter Saenredam (1597-1665)

by michwo 

Posted: 04 November 2019
Word Count: 102
Summary: Not a response to Challenge 474. More of a sequel to "Dead in the Water" thematically. There's a link to Interior of the Sint-Odulphuskerk in Assendelft and the picture might provide a stimulus for an ekphrastic poem for anyone who sees it interested in writing one. (This poem has also been posted in the Poetry Writers Group. Does anyone still go there?)

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For Pieter Saenredam (1597-1665)

Your world, unlike your father’s, sensuous,
Was soaring, geometric, linear.
For some your appearance was sinister:
Big-headed, short and hunch-backed, tenuous
Your hold on them, your marriage prospects nil.
Just as well.  Your art was time-consuming.
A country childhood stopped you being ill.
Piety you never looked like losing.
Your churches you are most remembered for
And chief among them surely Assendelft,
Your father’s gravestone Latined on the floor.
Not far from Haarlem then where Frans Hals helped
You, four years after him, to join the Guild.
The year you painted this a king was killed.

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Comments by other Members

Practicer at 13:25 on 04 November 2019  Report this post
The tale seems to go deeper than the surface.
I enjoy the way the poem concludes, as if you are in the poem, but also observing it.

michwo at 13:59 on 04 November 2019  Report this post
I'd never heard of Pieter Saenredam until I watched Episode 8 of Kenneth Clark's 1969 'Civilisation' series, The Light of Experience, on BBCiPlayer recently.  That episode was all about Dutch Golden Age painting basically and Saenredam's 1649 picture of Assendelft Church really impressed me.  It struck me later that for 10 years, from 1650 to 1660, when Cromwell established his Commonwealth, England would be, like Holland, a Republic.

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