W. H. Auden's poem "Musee des Beaux Arts"
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
That's a beautiful poem, one I've taught in many a literature class.
To read a really very dirty poem by W.H. Auden, one that a NY Times Book reviewer deemed too dirty to print, click here. But before you click, know that it's pretty graphic. According to one reader, it's "like a Penthouse Forum letter, except in lively verse, and with no women. It’s sort of great, and also sort of cheesy and awful, and also occasionally hilarious."