A Splash Quite UnnoticedWednesday, 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
the whole pageantry
of the year was
the edge of the sea
sweating in the sun
the wings' wax
off the coast
a splash quite unnoticed
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 Poems – A 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