Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Poetry Month strikes again!

Musee des Beaux Arts
by W.H. Auden

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.


This poem has floated, in a half-remembered haze, through my mind at various museums. I can't decide if, for me, the meaning of this poem is, Life keep happening, get on with it, or something a bit more along the lines of, be aware, amazing events occur without warning.


furiousBall said...

I think it's a bit of both. The clock keeps ticking so cherish life's victories as well as it's disappointments.

Doug said...

Icarus by Brueghel the younger or the older or something. One of my favorites since Ariel showed it to me.

lime said...

i take the awareness approach. perhaps you recall our mutual trivia friend who exhorts us to the two virtues of awareness and gladness...