Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thank you, Omar for this idea.

Here's the painting:

and the poem:
Musee des Beaux Arts
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.

and a take by William Carlos Williams:

William Carlos Williams

According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings' wax

off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I helped inspire this post! Here's the lyrics to the song, if I may.

    I was born into self-actualization, I knew exactly who I was, but I never got my chance to be young. So when you lay me inside of a coffin, bury me on the side of the hill, that's a good place to get some thinking done. It didn't work out the way that I planned it. They all seem to want to take it away, everything that I thought to be true. So it's obvious to me somebody, somewhere must have really done a number on you a,nd I know because the fuckers got me too. All the pretty horses, all flowers and trees, they will all mean less than nothing when it all has come to be.

    God sent me a vision of the future in a dream on a Saturday night and I see no reason to celebrate, for when I saw it I wept like a child. It came to me like a knife in the chest. You and me and everyone, forever, to ache and ache and ache.

    So Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass me by, but if it can't without my drinking it, then thy will be done.