Sunday, 27 April 2014

Day 646: Romantics

Another condemned love affair: Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann. Seems there is such a thing worse than unrequited love, and that's love that is requited, but ultimately not acted upon for some reason - in this case society  mores of the day, marriage, loyalty to friends and family. This poem explains it quite beautifully. 


Romantics - Lisel Mueller

Johannes Brahms 
       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 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.

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