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Musée des Beaux Arts

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Musée 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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • 4CYNDI
    Very thought provoking. Thanks for sharing.
    3476 days ago
  • MELLISOND
    Thank you for sharing this thought provoking poem and painting.
    3477 days ago
  • SARAWALKS
    WONDERFUL.
    emoticon
    Breughel is one of my favorites and yes, his compositions are repeatedly like this - for example his Way to Golgotha (which may not be the title, but it's what the painting is about) in which you could easily miss Christ carrying the cross...
    I had read the Auden poem - great to be reminded of it.
    emoticon
    3477 days ago
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