Rita Dove

Ludwig Von Beethoven's Return To Vienna

So when my proud city spread
her gypsy skirts, I reentered;
she burned a greater, constant light.
Call me rough, ill-tempered, slovenly- I tell you,
every tenderness I have ever known
has been nothing
but thwarted violence, an ache
so permanent and deep, the lightest touch
awakens it - it is impossible
to care enough. I have returned
with a second Symphony
and 15 Piano Variations
which I've named Prometheus,
after the rogue Titan, the half-a-god
who knew the worst sin is to take
what cannot be given back.
I smile and bow, and the world is loud.
And though I dare not lean in to shout
Can't you see that I'm deaf?
I also cannot stop listening.
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