Brueghel is in my life this week.  His painting is on the cover and referenced in the book I am reading. I used a postcard of the first image above as a gift tag for a package sent to my dear friend because the colors matched the paper bow.  And, we watched two movies over the holiday weekend, White Christmas and Museum Hours. A scene in Museum Hours, filmed in the Brueghel gallery of the Kunsthistorisches, sent me on a search for Auden's poem about Brueghel.  I've copied it here because Brueghel has been a welcome guest.



W.H. Auden


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;

How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting

For the miraculous birth, there always must be 

Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating

On a pond at the edge of the wood:

They never forgot

That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course

Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot

Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's


Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.


In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away

Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may

Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,

But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone

As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green

Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen

Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,

Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.