Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Breugel Nativity

An earlier work by Williams on Brueghel's "Adoration of the Kings" originally published in The Nation, May 31, 1958 and later used as part of "Paterson, Vol. 4"
Thank you to Lynda for bringing this one to my attention!




“A Brueghel Nativity.”
by William Carlos Williams

Peter Brueghel, the elder, painted

a Nativity, painted a Baby

new born!

among the words.

Armed men.

savagely armed men

armed with

pikes,

halberds and swords

whispering men with averted faces,

get to the heart

of the matter

as they talked to the pot bellied

greybeard (center)

the butt of their comments,

looking askance, showing their

amazement at the scene,

features like the more stupid

German soldiers of the late

War

—but the Baby (as from an

illustrated catalogue

in colors) lies naked on his Mother's

knees

—it is a scene, authentic

enough, to be witnessed frequently

among the poor (I salute

the man Brueghel who painted

what he saw—

many times no doubt

among his own kids but not of course

in this setting)

The crowned and mitred heads

of the three men, one of them black,

who had come, obviously from afar

(highwaymen?)

by the rich robes

they had on—offered

to propitiate their gods

Their hands were loaded with gifts

—they had eyes for visions

in those days—and saw,

saw with their proper eyes,

these things

to the envy of the vulgar soldiery

He painted

the bustle of the scene,

the unkempt straggling

hair of the old man in the

middle, his sagging lips

— —incredulous

that there was so much fuss

about such a simple thing as a baby

born to an old man

out of a girl and a pretty girl

at that

But the gifts! (works of art,

where could they have picked

them up or more properly

have stolen them?)

—how else to honor

an old man or a woman?

—the soldiers' ragged clothes,

mouths open,

their knees and feet

broken from thirty years of

war, hard campaigns, their mouths

watering for the feast which

had been provided

Peter Brueghel the artist saw it

from the two sides: the

imagination must be served—

and he served

dispassionately.


32 comments:

逸凡 said...

A good medicine tastes bitter. ..................................................

健豪 said...

灰心是動搖的開端,動搖是失敗的近鄰。..................................................

D415_evonN_Risinger0 said...

上來逛逛,既來之,打聲招呼,留言支持一下囉!祝你一切平安!........................................

于呈均名 said...

Time and tide wait for no man. ............................................................

又陽 said...

幸福不是一切,人還有責任。..................................................

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雅馨 said...

友誼是人生的調味品,也是人生的止痛藥。......................................................................

曉薇 said...

要持續更新下去喲!!祝你心情愉快.............................................................

邦雄 said...

Poverty is stranger to industry..................................................................                           

江婷 said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。......................................................................

秋娥秋娥 said...

It takes all kinds to make a world.............................................................

政翰 said...

向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

懿綺懿綺 said...

如果相遇.你會感到相知.那麼.有一種習慣叫做陪伴;如果陪伴.你會感到珍惜.那麼.有一種甜蜜叫做存在!..................................................................

芸茂芸茂 said...

One swallow does not make a summer.............................................................

吳婷婷 said...

唯有用熱情、用智慧去觀察事物,這事物才會把他的秘密,洩漏給我們............................................................

吳婷婷 said...

Prevention is better than cure.............................................................

芸茂芸茂 said...

first catch your hare, then cook him. ..................................................

淑慧 said...

人類的聰明,並非以經驗為依歸,而是以接受經驗的行程為依歸。..................................................

盈廖生家秀蔡 said...

Some people cannot see the wood for the trees.............................................................

RicoLisi0802志竹 said...

愛,拆開來是心和受兩個字。用心去接受對方的一切,用心去愛對方的所有。......................................................................

ToryO_Vis建銘 said...

Learn wisdom by the follies of others.............................................................

謝翁穎翰毓珍 said...

所有的資產,在不被諒解時,都成了負債..................................................................

雅明修任 said...

只用微笑說話的人,才能擔當重任。...............................................

文王廷 said...

Say not all that you know, believe not all that you hear.......................................................................

秀李李迪秀李李迪 said...

來給你加油打氣!!!保重!!!............................................................

文汝劉文汝劉文汝劉 said...

大肚能容,了卻人間多少事,滿腔歡喜,笑開天下古今愁。..................................................

陳欣陳玟珮陳玟珮琦 said...

人不能像動物一樣活著,而應該追求知識和美德............................................................

文滢 said...

雖天地之大,萬物之多,而惟吾蜩翼之知。..................................................

王綺廖家堯廖家堯穎 said...

到處逛逛~~來繞繞留個言囉~~~~............................................................

瑰潼 said...

學而時習之,不亦樂乎˙ω˙............................................................

Lady M. said...

What a great finding this blog is! I'm a teacher of Literature in Argentina and planning to work with Brueghel and Williams' poetry. A millon thanks
Mariela

Ellen said...

This is a wonderful poem, just the sort of thing I am always looking for.

I note that you do not always fully identify the works. In fairness to your readers, you should be meticulous in this matter, especially because Pieter the Elder sired two generations of accomplished artists, Jan the Elder, Pieter the Younger and Jan's sons, Jan the Younger and Ambrosius.This "Adoration of the Kings" is by Pieter the Elder (1564) and is in the National Gallery, London.

I fuss about these things because I teach art history.