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