08 June 2012

Schikaneder in Heligoland


Love-locked (her arm slipped into his protecting arm),
she in her customary red, he, black, they go
past the last mooring ring to where
the North Sea strikes the edge of the known world
and gannets shout their ne plus ultra.

Behind them towers Tall Anna’s rock, her backside
beaten red by spume. Compared to her
they might be porcelain dolls; but when
he takes his hat off and they kiss, her lips are salty.

Ahead of them the window’s lit against the dark.
He holds her hard against the rain - not knowing
when they’ll turn around - retracing in his mind
the pattern of the Prelude’s minor thirds.

Behind pressed lids he sees the dusty streets, the trams,
the known door on Rubešova, the sunlit limes,
and in one corner of their room, the loved harmonium.
And she thinks of the ghost of their lost child
who’ll never see his father paint, or hear him play.

Not long now until they meet again.