The autumn feels slowed down, summer still holds on here, even the light seems to last longer than it should or maybe I'm using it to the thin edge. The moon rolls in the air. I didn't want this child. You're the only one I've told. I want a child maybe, someday, but not now. Otto has a calm, complacent way of following me with his eyes, as if to say Soon you'll have your hands full! And yes, I will; this child will be mine not his, the failures, if I fail will all be mine. We're not good, Clara, at learning to prevent these things, and once we have a child it is ours. But lately I feel beyond Otto or anyone. I know now the kind of work I have to do. It takes such energy! I have the feeling I'm moving somewhere, patiently, impatiently, in my loneliness. I'm looking everywhere in nature for new forms, old forms in new places, the planes of an antique mouth, let's say, among the leaves. I know and do not know what I am searching for. Remember those months in the studio together, you up to your strong forearms in wet clay, I trying to make something of the strange impressions assailing me--the Japanese flowers and birds on silk, the drunks sheltering in the Louvre, that river-light, those faces...Did we know exactly why we were there? Paris unnerved you, you found it too much, yet you went on with your work...and later we met there again, both married then, and I thought you and Rilke both seemed unnerved. I felt a kind of joylessness between you. Of course he and I have had our difficulties. Maybe I was jealous of him, to begin with, taking you from me, maybe I married Otto to fill up my loneliness for you. Rainer, of course, knows more than Otto knows, he believes in women. But he feeds on us, like all of them. His whole life, his art is protected by women. Which of us could say that? Which of us, Clara, hasn't had to take that leap out beyond our being women to save our work? or is it to save ourselves? Marriage is lonelier than solitude. Do you know: I was dreaming I had died giving birth to the child. I couldn't paint or speak or even move. My child--I think--survived me. But what was funny in the dream was, Rainer had written my requiem-- a long, beautiful poem, and calling me his friend. I was your friend but in the dream you didn't say a word. In the dream his poem was like a letter to someone who has no right to be there but must be treated gently, like a guest who comes on the wrong day. Clara, why don't I dream of you? That photo of the two of us--I have it still, you and I looking hard into each other and my painting behind us. How we used to work side by side! And how I've worked since then trying to create according to our plan that we'd bring, against all odds, our full power to every subject. Hold back nothing because we were women. Clara, our strength still lies in the things we used to talk about: how life and death take one another's hands, the struggle for truth, our old pledge against guilt. And now I feel dawn and the coming day. I love waking in my studio, seeing my pictures come alive in the light. Sometimes I feel it is myself that kicks inside me, myself I must give suck to, love... I wish we could have done this for each other all our lives, but we can't... They say a pregnant woman dreams her own death. But life and death take one another's hands. Clara, I feel so full of work, the life I see ahead, and love for you, who of all people however badly I say this will hear all I say and cannot say.
Added: 25 Mar 2002 | Last Read: 31 May 2016 1:48 AM | Viewed: 6830 times
A PoetryNotes™ eBook is available for this poem for delivery within 24 hours, and usually available within minutes during normal business hours.
ON SALE - only
For more information...