A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

A Splash Quite Unnoticed
Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, now seen as a good early copy of Bruegel's original

Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling
near

the edge of the sea
concerned 
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings' wax

unsignificantly
off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning 
William Carlos Williams

I have four favourite poets (am excluding Shakespeare as he was also a playwright). In English there are Emily Dickinson and William Carlos Williams. I must admit that my entry into poems in English came via Ogden Nash. In Spanish there is the Argentine Jorge Luís Borges and Mexican Homero Aridjis.

Twice in the last couple of years the NY Times has published in its arts section paintings by Peter Brueghel the Elder. In both of those occasions a sentence from a Williams Carlos Williams poem was cited. I found this not only interesting but strange. Why would the poet have written two poems about Landscape With the Fall of Icarus and The Corn Harvest?

My curiousity led me to the usual Google search and I hit paydirt. The book in question is Pictures from Brueghel and other PoemsA New Directions Paperbook – Collected Poems 1950-1962. The book won Williams a Pulitzer Prize.

In the book I learned that William Carlos Williams had written ten poems about Brueghel paintings. I also found a poem that fit ever so nicely with some roses in my early fall garden here.

I cannot leave out from this blog my thanks and appreciation for our excellent Vancouver Public Library which as far as I know, its main branch has the only known copy (UBC and Simon Fraser University perhaps, too?) of the lovely book




     

Previous Posts
The Rose Fades

Mark Budgen's Aura

Esa Cara Que Un Sueño Nos Devuelve

The Suicide - Little Cousins, Called Back

Andrea Stefancikova Did Not Smile

Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll' August 20 2015

Narcissus

The Music of the Violin Does Not Emerge Alone

Pasado

Sukie- The Last To Leave Eastwick



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