Monday's Poem, A Day Late

This poem, "Robert Schumann," was written by Mary Oliver and was published in Dream Work (1986).

Robert Schumann

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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