Missing from the Musee des Beaux Arts, a portrait of the slave girl, her name unimportant or forgotten, who gave birth to Icarus when she was just fifteen. The old Masters never painted this; a table littered with feathers, beads of wax, wood shavings and string, and at the window a still young woman, gazing out to sea. Some things don’t change; somewhere, right now, a high-flying boy is in his mother’s thoughts; and even if the splash he makes goes once more unnoticed or ignored, the one who carried him already knows something is wrong, while the ‘expensive delicate ship’ sails calmly on.
Olaus and the Swallows
In his History of the Northern Peoples Olaus Magnus wrote that in autumn, rather than making for the moon, swallows gathered at lakes and ponds to sink down through water and mud linked bill to bill, wing to wing, foot to foot. He told how nets full of birds were hauled in, and of the vain attempts to revive them. Only experienced fisher folk left the long braids of swallows alone, knowing how they break for the sky in spring, and rain down their songs in blessing.