Thursday, April 1, 1982


Imagining myself at the Musée des Beaux Arts looking at Breugel's painting, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, while listening to Paul Winters' composition of Icarus in Flight. And yes, Auden, and WCW enter into it.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus Breugel

The Phoenix, suffering
turns away from disaster, and weeps.
I think of Bruegel. Old and new children,
aged, waiting for birth, martyrdom, and danger.
They've gone to the dogs, it's all torture, of course.
On the untidy spit where Minos and the Minotaur jousled.
Al, the the labyrinth, you say. Yes, and feathers.
Don't forget the sailor or the plowman.
A boy falls from the sky
because I sailed calmly by.
Cause and effect.

The mind, the palm at the edge of space.
Such gold feathers, the phoenix sings
and rises from the edge of space,
his shining feathers and ashes,
and 500 years of human feelings
are too much for the bird to absorb.
The foreign songs, the bird sings,
the fire feathered bird sings
until his heart bursts,
and his feathers dangle down
in the wind and tangle in the branches.

In Crete, both the great Goddess
and the youth sacrifice to the sun
while the phoenix rises from the ashes.
He sings once every 500 years
and the wind in the branches of the palm trees
whispering secrets of distant oasis.

I think: maybe Palm Springs or 49 Palms
Dedalus gathers the feathers of the phoenix
to give his son the power of flight.
There's a sailing ship in the bay,
but the plowman turns away.
The shepherd turns away.
Such a tiny splash that was never heard,
such thin ankles, such a slender boy,
and Icharus falling, falling, fall-
ing in slo-mo forever trapped
in the pool of his father's eyes
as he reaches into the void.

added, rev. 9/17

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