The theme of my challenge is poetry and books inspired by art and/or art inspired by literature.
is for Icarus
In Greek Mythology, Icarus and his father Daedalus were imprisoned in a tower on the island of Crete by King Minos. Daedalus created wings out of feathers, held together by bees wax. The two men were able to fly up into the sky but Icarus ignored his father’s warnings not to fly too close to the sun. The beeswax melted and Icarus plummeted to his death in the Mediterranean.
In the following poem by W H Auden, entitled Musée des Beaux Arts, he reflects on the way in which the master Painters depicted events such as the drowning of Icarus.
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.
Shortly afterwards, William Carlos Williams wrote a poem describing the story of the everyday events shown in the painting.
Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus
According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring
a farmer was ploughing
the whole pageantry
of the year was
sweating in the sun
the wings’ wax
off the coast
a splash quite unnoticed
Please read the poem by Michael Hamburger in the comment below from MarinaSofia.
Which poem do you prefer?