Musée des Beaux Arts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me borrow Auden’s poem for today for it struck me as my Philosophy professor recited it in class before the discussion ended.

 

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 orjust 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 failing out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

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