“Garden Apartment, Taube”
Franz von Lenbach.
Beautiful Schumann on the speakers, beautiful platonic
Clara Schumann behind the scenes, doyenne,
muse of the late quartets, sleeping perhaps with Brahms,
all that madness and grief. How quickly we are lost
in these petty names—you and I, he and she.
Now we try to find the German word for it
in a tangle of leaves, in his garden apartment
above the Spree. And you, that old you
to whom I used to speak, you will be married,
you will become a stranger to me,
a little sunlight, a little Turkish wine in a glass,
ceramic doves on the sill of your street.
The Algerian. Her killing smile. Will she last?
The impasto of trees annihilates so greenly, so fast.
Sarah Holland-Batt's first book, Aria, won several major Australian literary awards, including the Arts A.C.T. Judith Wright Poetry Prize, the Thomas Shapcott Prize, and the Anne Elder Award. She was recently the W.G. Walker Memorial Fulbright Scholar at New York University, where she earned her M.F.A.