Kinderszenen: Five poems

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By Allan Pastrana

Lupu set out to avoid the traditional approach… Lupu is on Freud’s side - Piero Rattalino, on Radu Lupu’s rendition of Schumann’s Kinderszenen

Of foreign lands and peoples

There is no way you could forget what you have always owned. Memory stitches everything together into a convenient geography of names. That is why remembrance strikes you in a most unfamiliar place, uttering a word like Todten – as if you never left, as if you have always known.

Pleading child

Only because I want it perfectly sweet inside my mouth. Only because longing is a territory of hunger, a kind of boiling that rages under your tongue. Only because it is happening right now – aware, that in a few years, I won’t be forgiven for what I will remember.

Dreaming

Denn die Todten reiden schnell: the dead travels fast, but your stillness cuts through you as if you arrive in two places at the same time. You are dreaming

entirely in German and the only way to save yourself is never to wake up, or – never to forget.

Child falling asleep

If my eyes resist sleep, it is because I am afraid

of reliving my death over and over. This is how

my head pulses with danger, like a bomb from a chest or a limp hand. This is why you own the memory of those who reminded you of the dark – a stranger, your mother, a lover.

The poet speaks

What I refuse to remember, I tuck underneath my skin – the only way to convince myself I have kept everything. It’s 1856, Endenich, Germany. This is how my thoughts are tied to the bed: I chose to stop here. A song I faintly recall grows beneath my breath like a name. If it is a woman’s, she’s the one. This is why I will begin to dream.

(Note: Robert Schumann composed “Kinderszenen” [Scenes from Childhood] in 1838, partly because it was a reflection of his wife Clara’s remark that he sometimes seemed to her as a child. He died in a private asylum at Endenich, Germany in July 1856.)

Montage Vol. 6 • August 2002