Mozart Songbook

By Joan Larkin

Outside on Fremont Ave, black
snow and no such thing as a
white wig or a lovestruck violet
who sings his heart out. My lungs
ached, huge with breath and the harsh
sweetness of strange words. 
Veilchen,
Mädchen—my brother spoke them
to show how my tongue was a gate
that could open secrets. He pressed
keys partway, to draw softest sounds
from the upright, and what he loved
I loved. That was my whole faith then.

About This Poem

was nine when my teenage brother taught me Mozart’s song about a violet who dies happy, crushed underfoot by a careless shepherdess. Since Donald’s death, I’ve been struck more than ever by the ways his early gifts helped shape me, especially his love for music and language.”
Joan Larkin

Joan_LarkinJoan Larkin’s most recent book is Blue Hanuman (Hanging Loose Press, 2014). The 2012-2015 Conkling Writer-in-Residence at Smith College, she lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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