Andrea Hollander Budy
Portrait Between Clock and Bed
Edvard Munch by
Himself: An Exhibition of 150 Self-Portraits
Royal Academy, London, 2005
risked himself as the naked
Christ spiked to the cross,
scorned by the crazed mob.
Portrayed his own body
as the dead Marat in the famed tub,
his own head on Salomé’s tray.
And again and again as a feckless man
whose vacuous eyes stare out from a face
imposed upon a darkness.
Then he’s a middle-aged man seated alone
in a restaurant, three other figures
merely elements of composition
and mute as wallpaper.
Forty years later he’s this dark silhouette
standing between a black grandfather clock
and a single bed – arms limp at his sides,
his face solemn, tired,
the only light a sharp yellow shaft
flourishing in another room
Court of Ptolemy