Jean Nordhaus



BREAD OF HEAVEN

Therese Grob, Schubert's first love, treasured the songs he gave her

but prudently married a prosperous baker.

                        Time/Life: Schubert and his Music

 

O, the buns, the buns, his fragrant loaves and Leckerli,

strudels and Lebkuchen, little frosted sugar cakes

set out on the banquette like babies in a row.

 

And when he came to me, flushed from the heat

of his ovens, smelling of yeast and chocolate,

white as a miller with flour on his shoes,

when he wooed me with marzipan

and braided crullers, odors issuing

from his shop in waves of rapture, who

 

could resist? O, comfort me with Linzertorte.

I've had an easy life, bread and meat on the table

a roof above my head, a kind man who loves me . . .

 

but, O, I've grown fat, fat, and sometimes

when scents of morning brötchen

penetrate my sleep like tremolos of lost love,

I think of that earnest, bespectacled cherub,

his head haloed with unruly curls—

nothing inside but harmonies and dotted half-notes—

 

how truly I sang for him

like the little bird that whistles sweet, sweet, sweet

outside my window.

 


Jean Nordhaus' fourth volume of poetry, Innocence, won the Charles B. Wheeler Prize and was published by The Ohio State University Press in November 2006.








                                    

 

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