Study Guide: “The Fall of Icarus” for Ms. Hansen’s English 9 Power Slide 7
I like the ploughman’s head pointed
down to earth just like his horse looks
down to see where to step. Everybody
says look up, lift your gaze, look ahead,
see what’s going on when ploughing
the earth up for spring planting.
If he doesn’t look down he won’t see
a big old rock that might bust his blade,
and then what’s the horse good for?
I like the plowman’s shirt.
They’re all going about their business,
Though I don’t know much about the
Businesses. Haven’t you noticed,
nobody notices what everybody
else is doing isn’t that what we notice?
The guy with the red head who points.
He’s not about to jump into and save
The poor nincompoop, he just wants to point,
Like the guy who says I’m just a monitor,
He’s the monitor who sees a boy falling,
With wings of hot wax and charcoal feathers.
But maybe he just sees two legs in the ocean.
The other day I read about a body pulled
Out of the lake and nobody helped him out.
As soon as that leg sinks below
Everybody’s going to turn around
And just keep on doing what
They were doing before the
Big tragedy, though no one
Really thinks it’s a big tragedy.
Maybe even the painter didn’t
Think it was such a big tragedy,
Maybe he just had some extra
Red paint he wanted to get off
Of his brush, who really knows.
Well, a lot more things are noticed
By the artist, for example he likes
White cliffs, and white clouds, and
White sunlight, and white sails and
White sheep and white shirts and
White towns but he did a pretty
Good job with a couple of dabs
Of red, where did he get that red?
DeWitt Clinton is Emeritus Professor at the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater, and lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He continues to write and publish short creative non-fiction and poetry in in Wise Guys: An Online Magazine, Negative Capability, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Verse-Virtual, New Verse News, Peacock Journal, Ekphrastic Review and Stark: The Poetry Journal No. 1 which featured a “shortlisted” poem for the Wisehouse International Poetry Award.
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