Robert Schumann (a poem by Mary Oliver)

Hardly a day passes I don’t think of him in the asylum: younger

than I am now, trudging the long road down through madness toward death.

Everywhere in this world his music explodes out of itself, as he

could not.  And now I understand something so frightening, and wonderful –

how the mind clings to the road it knows, rushing through crossroads,

sticking like lint to the familiar.  So!  Hardly a day passes I don’t

think of him: nineteen, say, and it is spring in Germany

and he has just met a girl named Clara.  He turns the corner,

he scrapes the dirt from his soles, he runs up the dark staircase, humming.

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2 Responses to “Robert Schumann (a poem by Mary Oliver)”


  1. 1 Katharine December 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Love it!

  2. 2 Steve December 21, 2011 at 10:45 am

    That was very moving. When it comes to Robert Schumann I always think of his problems with his fingers and how it changed his musical direction from artist to composer.


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