"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)



"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."

W. H. Auden, "Musee des Beaux Arts"


Anonymous the librarian said...

I'm a big fan of Auden. His poems are so simple, yet haunting.

Monday, September 11, 2006 7:43:00 PM

Blogger texasinafrica said...

It seemed like the right thing for today.

Monday, September 11, 2006 10:50:00 PM


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