• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 03


(After Wilhelm Müller For Schubert)

I thought you were the girl
In Schubert’s Winterreise.
I wrote your name in frost
On snowy gates, on lost
Bare linden limbs brachiate
And stinging clean with cold.

But there you were sitting
Up in bed, the eiderdown
Kissing the rumpled top
Of your peasant’s blouse,
The persimmon heat of
Steam rising from the old

Iron radiators, and your lips
Wrapped round a cigarette
As if indifferent to the very
Idea of cold, importune
To fortune, as if ruin
Was merely another state of stone.

We were each other’s
Subaltern, that winter
Each being both at once
The central metropolis,
And the far port of call;
In miniver, in chains,



In sailcloth, in Rome,
In Gaul, in Pontis where
The sheaf of your long
Black hair marked you out.
You took a pair of scissors

Cropped it identical,
To mine refractory,
Until the name I wrote
Became my own:

Maria, Maria, Maria,

Calling out In the branches of the lindens,
In the close and brackish slough.