août 16 2012
Musée des Beaux Arts, Poem by WH Auden
We can imagine WH Auden visiting the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in Brussels, and meditating on the art of Pieter Bruegel (The Elder). He focuses specifically on "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus." Icarus was the son of master craftsman Daedalus, who made wings made of feathers and wax, with which they could both escape prison. Daedalus instructed his son not to fly too close to the sun, but out of sheer delight Icarus did not heed this. The wax melted, and he fell to his death in the sea. Auden's poem is a homage to Breugel's insights into the unflinching ordinariness of everyday life, which for better or for worse speaks to our human lot. It was a masterful painting, rendered masterfully into the art form of poetry! Here's the poem, from an analysis on this site: poetrypages.lemon8.nl 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 <b>…</b>
Source: Musée des Beaux Arts, Poem by WH Auden (Youtube).