Thursday, April 29, 2010

Brahms and Clara Schumann

A few years ago I read a long biography of Clara Schumann and have been in awe of how she handled a complex life and concertized, had eight children, a husband and son who went mad [whatever that meant back then] and wrote much music and many, many letters.

I've only just found this poem by Lisel Mueller called Romantics, Johannes Brhams and Clara Schumann

The modern biographers worry
"how far it went." their tender-friendship.
They wonder just what it means
when he writes he thinks of her constantly,
his guardian angel, beloved friend.
The modern biographers as
the rude, irrelevant question
of our age, as if the event
of two bodies meshing together
establishes the degree of love,
forgetting how softly Eros walked
in the nineteenth century, how a hand
held overlong or a gaze anchored
in someone's eyes could unseat a heart,
and nuances of address not known
in our egalitarian language
could make the redolent air
tremble and shimmer with the heat
of possibility. Each time I hear
the Intermezzi, sad
and lavish in their tenderness,
I imagine the two of them
sitting in a garden
among the late-blooming roses
and dark cascades of leaves,
letting the landscape speak for them
leaving us nothing to overhear.


Kass said...

Lovely. I'm imagining which Intermezzi they would listen to.

Saint Dolores said...

I tell you dear, I have always struggled with poetry. I feel like I don't understand or the language is too indulgent...the poetry you present on your page is always different from that. You explain background and then post a poem that isn't opaque masturbation. THANK YOU for this. I've always been sad that I couldn't enjoy poetry like I should.