William Carlos Williams

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In "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus," what does "awake tingling near the edge of the sea" mean?

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Williams' poem is meant to evoke a famous painting, Pieter Breugel the Elder's "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus." The painting in turn refers to the mythic story of Icarus, who, using a set of wings of wax, flew too near the sun, melted his wings, and fell to his death. The story is commonly understood to mean that one shouldn't dare too much, or that one should know one's boundaries. The painting is a panoramic landscape of springtime; in the foreground is a farmer ploughing, and in the background is the sea, with sailing ships. If you look closely, you can see a pair of tiny legs...

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