Wrapping up the theme:
(Poem #485) Hunters in the Snow: Brueghel
Quail and rabbit hunters with tawny hounds, Shadowless, out of late afternoon Trudge toward the neutral evening of indeterminate form Done with their blood-annunciated day Public dogs and all the passionless mongrels Through deep snow Trail their deliberate masters Descending from the upper village home in lovering light. Sooty lamps Glow in the stone-carved kitchens. This is the fabulous hour of shape and form When Flemish children are gray-black-olive And green-dark-brown Scattered and skating informal figures On the mill ice pond. Moving in stillness A hunched dame struggles with her bundled sticks, Letting her evening's comfort cudgel her While she, like jug or wheel, like a wagon cart Walked by lazy oxen along the old snowlanes, Creeps and crunches down the dusky street. High in the fire-red dooryard Half unhitched the sign of the Inn Hangs in wind Tipped to the pitch of the roof. Near it anonymous parents and peasant girl, Living like proverbs carved in the alehouse walls, Gather the country evening into their arms And lean to the glowing flames. Now in the dimming distance fades The other village; across the valley Imperturbable Flemish cliffs and crags Vaguely advance, close in, loom Lost in nearness. Now The night-black raven perched in branching boughs Opens its early wing and slipping out Above the gray-green valley Weaves a net of slumber over the snow-capped homes. And now the church, and then the walls and roofs Of all the little houses are become Close kin to shadow with small lantern eyes. And now the bird of evening With shadows streaming down from its gliding wings Circles the neighboring hills Of Hertogenbosch, Brabant. Darkness stalks the hunters, Slowly sliding down, Falling in beating rings and soft diagonals. Lodged in the vague vast valley the village sleeps.
You don't often see this kind of descriptive poem attempted in completely free verse; it's to Langland's credit that he achieves this task while remaining remarkably 'poetic'. My favourite part of is this: "This is the fabulous hour of shape and form When Flemish children are gray-black-olive And green-dark-brown." which seems to capture the feel of the orginal wonderfully well. thomas. [Thanks] Dan Percival was the first of several people to write in with the name of the painting I mentioned yesterday - it was 'The Human Condition', by Rene Magritte . Thanks, Dan (and all the others).  Not Matisse, as I had written yesterday. I'm mortified that I confused the two... they say the memory is the first thing to go... Magritte/Matisse, Corot/Courbet, Monet/Manet... oh well. [Moreover] Dan also wrote: "Magritte was deeply concerned with the distinction between a painting and its subject, probably most famously expressed in "La trahison des images," ("The treachery of images"), in which a realistic illustration of a pipe is captioned with the phrase "Leci n'est pas une pipe." (This is not a pipe.) There's a web site with a searchable catalog of 300 of his paintings at www.magritte.com. Several of his paintings treat the theme of a painting of a window placed in front of the window. Just go to that site, follow the "Museum" link, then pick "window" from the theme menu of the search area on the left. In the first two pages of results, paintings like the one you describe are "The Human Condition" (two versions) and "Where Euclide Walked." Hmm, there's that old dichotomy between representation and represented again...