W.H. Auden would be 101 years old today.

   Musee des Beaux Arts

   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 horse
   Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

   In Brueghel’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.