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. 
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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