Friday, August 01, 2008

Poetry Friday - 21

Life has quietened back down again for me this week (and the weather's cooling down too, thank goodness) after last week's laptop crash, etc.

This week's poem is by W H Auden.

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 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.

This week's Poetry Friday round-up is over at The Well-Read Child.


tanita✿davis said...

"On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who paints."-- Virginia Wolfe

That's what this poem always reminds me -- with a slight chill...

Michele said...

*nods* Yes, spot on!!

Mary Lee said...

Life does have a way of going on in spite of all the miracles...

Michele said...

Indeed it does...