Alone With The Romantics

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SchumannSince I will be away for two months, I have packed up my tiny household, sent the kids along with the yayas home to the grandparents. I am immersed in work, being the drone that I am, and as a consequence of trying to squeeze in every possible task in a day, I have returned to the habits of old: staying late at work, going home even later.

It is dark by the time I fumble for the keys to my door. The house, bereft of its lively occupants, sighs and lets me in, undesiring of my company.

My bedroom still smells of baby, a heady scent that envelops me and stirs up such strong emotions. I can’t get to asleep no matter how tired I am. So I read, in the hopes that soon, sleep will come.

Last night while going through a folder of downloaded poems, I happened on this:
Romantics: Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann
by Lisel Mueller
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 ask
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 late-blooming roses
and dark cascades of leaves,
letting the landscape speak for them,
leaving us nothing to overhear.

Sometimes, the quiet beauty of a poem becomes a leaden weight for me. When I am visited by a poem as lovely, as poignant, as resonant as this, I am simply floored.

Blatantly, I feel my loneliness.


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