Poetry For People / The Famous Stuff

April 27, 2009 at 11:57 pm (Poetry for People, The Famous Stuff) (, , , , , , )

This is probably my favorite poem of all time. When someone says “poem”, it’s the one I always think of first. And judging by the rest of the world in websites and blogs, I’m not the only one. So, I know that it has been placed around here countless times, but I’m going to add it in just once more.

I have two other poems on the Icarus theme that I will be posting this week. Those might not be AS popular so it will give a fresh take on an old subject. I even did a critical literary analysis comparing the three for a college paper. Exciting stuff. Maybe if someone asks nice or begs originally, I’ll just post it on up. And if nobody says anything, I might just post it anyway.

Here it is. The one, the only:

Musée 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 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.


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1 Comment

  1. Debora Neverman said,

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after browsing through many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly happy I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

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