Du bist die Ruh, swipe right edition

Posted by Prudence Crowther on  UTC 2020-02-09 10:04

None but the Lonely Trout

Gentle, attractive record company editor… seeking nonsmoker for companionship and LTR… Listen to Schubert's Du bist die Ruh' to know more about me.
Box […]

Dear Box […],

I took you at your word and bought the appropriate CD. Maybe it's the translation, but I'm not sure if I know more about you now or not. Bear with me.

Is it you who's looking for repose and gentle peace, longing and what stills it? In exchange for which you offer, with joy and pain, a dwelling in your heart? Should I ask what is the nature of the pain you offer – or are you yourself the repose, etc.?

Would you be coming to me, softly closing the gate behind you, or is that my role? How about driving all other grief from one of our breasts?

And am I supposed to fill your heart with joy, or will you be doing it? If the temple of your eyes is to be lit up by my radiance alone (which I am to fill wholly), I don't see how I could be right for you. Could anyone succeed in meaning so much to a single soul?

On the other hand, if you mean you aspire, alone, to light the temple of my eyes, I ask myself if you haven't set your sights too high for your own good, let alone mine, assuming you were to find me otherwise worthy.

Does my very confusion mean I'm too primitive a character for you? Even if you could find my simplicity forgivable, I suspect I've already made you think I'm incapable of the nobler feelings and pathetic for having to take them apart.

But while I'm unclear where exactly you are in Du bist die Ruh', I find myself in certain of Schubert's other songs.

I have, for instance, been a brook weeping through gullies in hollow rocks, and despair has on occasion opened my jaw wide to some pretty strong language. Under the moon, I have as good as lain awake on thorns; I have sure been the sailor anxiously waiting for a breeze. My heart has been moved by the imploring of nightingales, and it's not inconceivable a pearl or two rests in its depths. I have cried at night for sorrow, only to laugh in the morning. I'm a mare with a slender back, and a carrier pigeon named Longing. More than one person has found me, for better or for worse, a motionless treetop. I've watched the cold-blooded angler muddy the brook with his rod, I have been the muddied brook, and the trout whose joyful darting is ended. Insofar as I am a wild rose, I won't prick you if you pick me. I am kinder than I am fair, and so I enclose no photo. But I am healthy for now, although I need glasses to weed.

May I hope to hear from you?

[…]

December 24, 2000
The New York Review of Books

Heidenröslein, somewhat startled.

Schubert – Haidenröslein. Image: Historische Bildpostkarten.

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