Friday, June 4, 2010

how everything turns away quite leisurely from the disaster

Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Landscape with the Fall of Icarus (1558)
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 Brueghel'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.

Musée des Beaux Arts (1938) by Wystan Hugh Auden (Anglo-American poet, 1907-1973)


  1. Εξαίρετος πίνακας...

    Τον είχα θαυμάσει από κοντά στη Βρυξέλλα.

  2. Δεν είναι μεγάλος μάστορας ο Μπρίγκελ; Το είχε αυτό το συνήθειο να βάζει τα "μεγάλα θέματα" στο περιθώριο των πινάκων του...

  3. "The Vanity of Human Life" by Jan Brueghel the Younger