So far, this summer has been rather difficult. I won’t go into details but suffice to say that real life growled and smacked me upside the head. Yeah, I’m not starving, my kids are fine, et cetera, et cetera but still, it’s sucked. Anyway, I keep reading Auden’s poem, Musée des Beaux Arts, because it seems strangely appropriate given my personal life, the life of most of my friends, and the larger world’s recent horrors. Suffering is as transitory as joy. Or perhaps joy is as transitory as suffering. And there will always be someone who is unaffected or who doesn’t particularly care what is happening because everything is relative.
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;
I won’t argue that I find this comforting, because I don’t. Rather, I think I like the poem because it’s so beautifully constructed. Because it says something truthful. Because that painting is incredibly amusing to me. I mean, no one is paying any attention to Icarus. Stupid kid gives the sun the finger and then crashes into the sea while “the torturer’s horse / Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.”
Hilarious. The horse is always innocent. Life is a museum of fine things, is it not?
Clearly I have a twisted sense of humor.