Poetry: Auden, “Musee des Beaux Arts”

I have a lot to write about: The show, and pin trading, and photos, and all sorts of stuff. But today I’m just giving you art in two forms: painting and poetry.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

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.

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One thought on “Poetry: Auden, “Musee des Beaux Arts”

  1. Pingback: Seven Quick Takes Friday Vol. 24 | Living Adventurously

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