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Musée des Beaux Arts (January 2024)

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The war’s cold exclusion has stripped out love.

Two years on, I stroll among the Bruegels;

The pictures dazzle in their joyless way,

Reflecting life’s treadmill of chores, horrors,

Its accommodations and its intrigues,

Its little stratagems for making do,

Not forgetting massacres and revenge.

I’ve read about the gas used at the front

To flush out choking soldiers marked for death.

Rabbits in the headlights, like Icarus:

Gone, before anyone even noticed.

It’s strange that works from centuries ago

Can still raise thoughts of anger and disgust.

As long as art survives, there is still hope.


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Stephen Gospage

Wed 24th Jan 2024 22:00

Graham - yes, the time travel element is an interesting one. To think of an artist painting these pictures all those centuries ago. And painting them with the detail of a novelist or poet.

You're quite right, Steve. A painting often seems to improve the more time you take to study the details.

The book sounds fascinating, John. Plus ca change, indeed.

Thanks to all for your kind comments.

And thanks to Nigel, Tom, Aisha, Stephen A, K Lynn, Holden, Manish, Jon, Rob and Tim for your support.

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John Coopey

Wed 24th Jan 2024 08:54

Intriguing insight, Stephen. I’m reading Robert Harris’s “The Second Sleep” at the minute. What would the past make of us if it was discovering our artefacts through archeological finds? Plus ca change, pert etre?

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Steve White

Wed 24th Jan 2024 08:08

Really good, Stephen and interesting to read the two poems side by side.

Funny that no matter the objective quality of the art, it's the interaction with the observer that's important.

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Graham Sherwood

Wed 24th Jan 2024 07:43

Galleries are the nearest thing to Time Travel that we can aspire to Stephen. Your poem describes this very well!
I wonder what galleries of the future will look like?

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