Fall of Icarus

I enjoyed this poem quite a bit. For this mythical legend to be so sidelined by a farmer ploughing a field. It is spring and everything is waking and parading its newfound life about and through all this the fall of icarus goes on unnoticed by all this new life “awake tingling near the edge of the sea concerned with itself sweating in the sun that melted the wings wax”. All this life going on at the edge of the water in bright daylight as a legend falls to its death. The poem is simple and that is what makes it so powerful. All this simple language to describe life makes the unnoticed plight of Icarus stand out all the more. “A splash quite unnoticed this was Icarus drowning”.

There is actually a scene in Cloverfield that is very reminiscent of this poem, actually kind of uncanny. There is a scene at the end of the movie after the monster has destroyed New York. A home video of the main character and his girlfriend from before the monster attacks. They are at Coney Island or some other boardwalk type attraction and are laughing and having fun and in the far corner of a shot there is a splash in the water. The splash was of a satellite that fell. And shortly after that splash a monster came.

I don’t really have a point with that story. Just came to mind and thought I’d share it.

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2 Responses to Fall of Icarus

  1. carnold13 says:

    I have read this poem before, and I have seen the painting that it is written about. It is a beautiful painting, the main focus being on the ocean. There is a farmer plowing in his field on the cliff, and there are lots of waves crashing in the ocean, and out in the middle of the ocean, there is the splash where Icarus fell into the ocean. Its very poetic. The poem is great as well, it kind of shows how the fall of a god doesn’t change the course of daily life for the people. The simplicity of the poem emphasizes how the gods are no longer an important part of the people’s lives, and how people can handle every day life on their own without the help of the gods.

  2. ldhare says:

    Yeah, since we are talking about art, I think of this transition is a sort of artistic metaphor. I like the way you put it: “…people can handle every day life on their own…” In the history of art, the point at which people started painting the common man (genre paintings) instead of myths and legends (historical paintings) was a huge step. Artists (I tend to think of Courbet’s “Stone-Breakers”) decided it was vital to show everyday realities. They were the first artistic realists. In the same way, Williams is presenting a potentially legendary scene as something little more than a normal occurrence. I imagine myself in the scene, seeing a little splash and moving on with my own life. That is reality. Human experience is individual and the world doesn’t stop for even the most powerful.

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