Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Musee des Beaux Arts

With all the disasters around us, its a fact that most of us do get on with our lives. A fact W. H. Auden expressed in his poem "Musee des Beaux Arts" when he saw the 16th century painting "Fall of Icarus" by Breughel (picture above) on his visit to a Brussels museum in 1938.
Here it is:

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.


At 8/10/2006 11:29 AM,

Treat to se and read this. 

Posted by Shirazi


At 8/12/2006 4:17 PM,

I came across that poem in my A Levels, and still think of it often when i am faced with circumstances to which it applies. Very nice poem. 

Posted by dreamer




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