Emil Nolde, The Prophet (1912)
He has gouged the future out of wood,
crucified his own face –
brow and nose a cross, eyes nails,
beard a modern Golgotha.
He cannot say: Father, forgive them,
for they know not what they do,
because his mouth is carved shut,
chiselled by himself into silence.
He has no wish to hear
what his self-portrait has to say
and cannot bear to know
what he sees beyond the frame.
Jonathan Taylor is an author, critic and lecturer. His books include the poetry collection Musicolepsy (Shoestring, 2013), and the novel Melissa (Salt, 2015). He is director of the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester in the UK. His website is www.jonathanptaylor.co.uk.
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