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Monday, May 28th, 2007

Time Event
A Different Memorial

From here: http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/68.html

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 plowman 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.

Breughel's wonderfully-named "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" may be seen here:


Enlarge it and you'll get Auden's references -- particularly if you look closely in the water at the image's lower right.

93 93/93 -- AJ

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