In the first stanza, Aden points out the talent and the uncommon foresight of the Old Masters that are 16th -17th European painters, to describe indifference and selfishness to the suffering of the others, as they are too absorbed by their own life. Old Masters quoted here are artists described as more attentive, learned than others, with a capacity to understand what people ignore “they were never wrong/how well they understood”. Their pictorial form of work depicts this recurrent problem in humanity which is something that Aden seems to admire.
Indeed, in the second stanza, the representation of suffering made by Burgher with his painting “Landscape with the Fall of Cirrus” seemed so prodigiously done that Aden, instead of giving his own definition of suffering, uses the painting and describes the painted characters, the atmosphere poetically, which can make the reader easily think that the poet speaks o an unseen listener. Thus his description gives another dimension to the painting, whereas the painting helps the poet to treat the subject, this way, they are complementary.
The work of the poet is directly linked to the painter’s one as they create an image, a landscape composed of colors, movements existing differently : on the one hand by association of words “the sun shone/white legs/into the green water” and on the other hand created by paint. Their role, associated together, is to make re-think about our relationship with others and the attention given to ourselves o the detriment of other’s. They act as witnesses of the suffering. Through a piece of art another one is shown by the process of the “miss en abeam”. However, Burgher was not the only artist quoted by Aden.
On the occasion of the outbreak of World War II, Aden wrote the poem September 1, 1939 in which he evokes the conflicting situation that is spreading over Europe ; in the same poem we also find the names of Nijinsky and Dishevel who are two important figures of the Russian scene being respectively dancer and a manager, the creator of the Russian Ballets. The verses What mad Nijinsky wrote About Dishevel Is true of the normal heart” refer to their personal life and especially the time when Nijinsky was diagnosed with schizophrenia and wrote notebooks where hateful quotes relate to Dishevel.
Indeed the latter threw Nijinsky out of the Russian Ballet and ruined his career after he left him to marry a woman. Aden opted for Nijinsky and Dishevel as a couple to illustrate the fact that people are not interested in universal love but only by being loved personally “Not universal love But to be loved alone”, the poet exemplifies the act that the actual situation (I. E. Sass’s war) is caused partly by men selfishness, a fault that appeared also within a love relationship. Their role in the poem is to make an example as two important figures, that everyone is familiar with.
Differently, Aden inserts a fictional character and artist in his poem “The Shield of Achilles”: Vulcan the ancient Roman god of fire, a blacksmith who forges the famous shield of Achilles adorned with imagery. In the poem, Achilles mother, Thesis, observes the creation of the shield and expects peaceful and happy scenes to be on the shield but instead, Vulcan makes a totally different ornament “She looked over his shoulder For vines and olive trees/But on the shining metal His hands had put instead An artificial wilderness”. He engraves Achilles’ destiny on “the shining metal”.
Maybe by the utilization of this character, Aden wanted to show one role proper to an artist: reflecting reality through his work with this usual sense of sincerity. Finally, Addend’s inspiration is signified by a poem dedicated his colleague William Butler Yeats, another artist closer to his own work. The first part of “In Memory of W. B Yeats” ascribes the day Yeats died as a cold and dark day as if the world lost someone really important. In this first part, Aden wants to show how essential the work of artists is and reveals one of the poet functions: the transmission.
Aden explains that the artist continues to live thanks to his written and had transmitted his knowledge but that people will probably interpret it differently. The tone changes in the following parts of the poem, where Aden does not glorify Yeats, the poem is no longer a simple elegy. Aden criticizes the fact that some artists take advantage of heir great power of dissemination and especially their flexible use of the language t disseminate bad ideas like Yeats did but also “Kipling and his views” and “Paul Claude, Pardons him for well writing”.
Indeed Kipling had stated his imperialist beliefs and Paul Claude had supported Franco during the Spanish Civil War. But Aden also says “Poetry makes nothing happen” to express that poetry usually fails t provoke revolutions, changes in people’s mind, it does not stop wars, when a poet dies, only his style of writing remains and not necessarily what he had said. After all, he language and the strength of words and poesy redeems the poet’s ideas and positions. In his poetry Aden mentions many artists but what is interesting is Aden as an artist himself and the roles that he plays.
Literature is fully considered as an art and by extension poetry is so, that is why Aden has a real status of artist. In ancient Greek, the definition of poetry, TOILET (poi) signifies “l create”. The role that would seem to be obvious, is the one to associate words together to create something beautiful at the sight and hearing: a poem made of verses and stanzas, composed of adaptors, associations, images and rhymes. Following this idea, Aden, or poets in general, are also musicians. We can see it, in W. H.
Aden poetry first of all with the titles given to his poems with “Lullaby’ or “Refugee Blues” which are both pieces of music. Addend’s choice between a fixed-form sonnet or a free versed poem is always justified, as the poet wants to give a monotonous (“Miss Gee” offers 25 stanzas with 4 verses each, with regular rhymes to show the monotony of Miss Gee life) or a vivid rhythm (in “Look, Stranger” he uses alternatively short and long free verses to create n echo effect). However, beyond the simple creation a poet has a myriad of roles which appear in many poems of Aden.
Aden is a poet that is seen as unromantic, his aim is to reflect reality in his poems according to a sort of mimesis. We find in his work a real need for sincerity which is true for every subject that he treats such as love, politics, death and so on. First of all, Aden has the role to give his own view on subjects that constitute the human life. Thanks to the form of language that he uses, associations of words, he put into words what others would find difficult to say, build vision that people could adhere to.
In Addend’s poetry, love is an important subject: he gives a very pessimistic but realistic definition of love with “The More Loving One”. Love is not only about having positive feelings, it also has a fleeting nature and might be a source of pain too. Furthermore, Aden was really committed in global conflicts of the time and defends his own politic beliefs: he exposes to his readers some political leaders’ actions of the time. For instance, in “Epitaph on a Tyrant”, Aden clearly portrays Hitler and his dictatorship.
Unlike other people that would denounce mom political regime, the poet can criticize through methods of writing such as metaphors, images to override censorship and, at the same time, touch an informed audience. “Spain” is another example to show his political anchor as a pro-republican denounces the lack of help provided by others nations to Spain during this difficult time of civil war. Lastly, like Baudelaire did in his poetry collection “Less Flours du Mall’ Aden is interested in the poorest in “Refugee Blues” and “The Unknown Citizen”. Poesy is a real mean of denunciation.
As an artist himself, Aden show the alliterated aspect of the poet but he also links all forms of art together: by the evocation of several figures coming from different forms of art, Aden gives another point of view and evokes people he admires, respects. Moreover as artists, they have the same intention: the one to create and generate emotions, reflexive and even hope. Associations of words, he put into words what others would find difficult to say, builds audience. “Spain” is another example to show his political anchor as a pro-republican time of civil war. Lastly, like Baudelaire did in his poetry collection “Less Flours du Mall”,