Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Ophelia that was Icarus

Pieter Brueghel, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus (ca. 1554-55)

Julia Fullerton-Batten, Floating in the Harbor (2005)

Tadeusz Różewicz's Rights and Duties is a better review of the above work than I could try to make. So here it is, in my humble translation:

A time ago I know not when

a time ago I thought I had the right the duty

to shout at the ploughman

look look listen you piece of wood

Icarus is falling

Icarus is drowning the son of a dream

let go of the plough

let go of the earth

open your eyes

there Icarus


or the shepherd here

turning his back to the tragedy

the wings the sun the flight

the fall

I would say you blind men

But now when now I know not

I know that the ploughman should plow the earth

the shepherd should watch the flock

Icarus’s adventure is not their own

this has to end that way

And there is nothing shocking

in the ship moving on

to the port of destination

I can't resist finding an excuse to put some more Julia Fullerton-Batten images, so let me quote another Polish poet, Czesław Miłosz:

Song on The End of the World (transl. Anthony Miłosz)

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A Fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through fields under their umbrellas
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels' trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet,
Yet is not a prophet, for he's much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world there will be,
No other end of the world there will be.


Nati said...

I like your blog ! Very good !
If you want to see...
bye !

L.M. said...

Brueghel and Miłosz in one post. That's the jackpot.

Dina said...

I love Pieter Brueghel's work. Its so amazing -- I could stare at his work for a really long time!


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