Poetry of Auden Essay

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"Fall of Icarus" by Breughel 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 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. Copyright © 1976 by Edward Mendelson, William Meredith and Monroe K. Spears, Executors of the Estate of W. H. Auden. "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned in life: It goes on." -Robert Frost So now what do you want to do? Take me... to the homepage | to the Thing Called Life page | to the top of this page about the poem | about the painting | links ABOUT THE POEM: meaning: The basic premise of the poem is response to tragedy, or as the song goes "Obla Di, Obla Da, Life Goes On." The title refers to the Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels. Auden visited the museum in 1938 and viewed the painting by Brueghel, which the poem is basically about. Generalizing at first, and then going into specifics the poem theme is the apathy with which humans view

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