A Poem For Saturday

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 11 2011 @ 10:20am


"Musee 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.

You can read the rest of the poem here, which was inspired by the above painting.

(Image: Landscape with the Fall of Icarus composed by Pieter Bruegel via Wikimedia Commons)