Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Musée des Beaux Arts

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.

W.H. Auden


Kate said...

Thank you for this. Haven't you got a lot of poetry about your place? Really good to read it-- a welcome break. I just read an extraordinary response to an entry back in 2007, a guy clearly v. cross with his dad over some sort of inheritance issue. I wonder how that story ended, if indeed it has...? K

LottieP said...

It's a poem I love, and I love the painting too. So much to absorb in both.

That must have been a comment by J - who's my oldest friend. He's been estranged from his dad (a terrible man, who modelled himself after The Jackal) for some time. There was no resolution; they just don't speak.

Kate said...

That is sad (about your friend I mean).

Thanks again for the wonderful poetry. :)

LottieP said...

Just put up another one for you!