Samstag, 24. April 2021

True Love

Mit dem Amerikaner Robert Penn Warren präsentiere ich nach Simon Armitage und William Wordsworth den dritten Poet Laureate in diesem Monat. Sie haben richtig gelesen, auch in Amerika gibt es den Titel eines Poet Laureate. Seit 1986, Robert Penn Warren war der erste Titelträger. Und das zu Recht, zwei seiner sechzehn Gedichtbände (Promises und Now and Then) hatten den Pulitzer Preis erhalten. Für seinen Roman All the King's Men hatte er schon 1947 den Pulitzer Preis bekommen, er ist der einzige Amerikaner, der den Preis in den Kategorien Lyrik und Prosa verliehen bekam. Er war hier am 24. April 2010 mit dem Post Understanding Poetry schon in diesem Blog, weil der 24. April sein Geburtstag ist. Heute soll der Mann mit dem eindrucksvollen Werk als Literaturkritiker, Dichter und Romanautor noch einmal mit einem Gedicht zu Wort kommen. Das Gedicht heißt True Love, Robert Penn Warren war beinahe achtzig Jahre alt, als er es schrieb. Wahrscheinlich muss man so alt werden, um ein solch wunderbares Liebesgedicht zu schreiben,

In silence the heart raves. It utters words 
Meaningless, that never had
A meaning. I was ten, skinny, red-headed,

Freckled. In a big black Buick,
Driven by a big grown boy, with a necktie, she sat
In front of the drugstore, sipping something

Through a straw. There is nothing like
Beauty. It stops your heart. It
Thickens your blood. It stops your breath. It

Makes you feel dirty. You need a hot bath.
I leaned against a telephone pole, and watched.
I thought I would die if she saw me.

How could I exist in the same world with that brightness?
Two years later she smiled at me. She
Named my name. I thought I would wake up dead.

Her grown brothers walked with the bent-knee
Swagger of horsemen. They were slick-faced.
Told jokes in the barbershop. Did no work.

Their father was what is called a drunkard.
Whatever he was he stayed on the third floor
Of the big white farmhouse under the maples for twenty-five years.

He never came down. They brought everything up to him.
I did not know what a mortgage was.
His wife was a good, Christian woman, and prayed.

When the daughter got married, the old man came down wearing
An old tail coat, the pleated shirt yellowing.
The sons propped him. I saw the wedding. There were

Engraved invitations, it was so fashionable. I thought
I would cry. I lay in bed that night
And wondered if she would cry when something was done to her.

The mortgage was foreclosed. That last word was whispered.
She never came back. The family
Sort of drifted off. Nobody wears shiny boots like that now.

But I know she is beautiful forever, and lives
In a beautiful house, far away.
She called my name once. I didn't even know she knew it.

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