Thursday, April 19, 2012
Sehnsucht for Tots
I know something about longing, especially about longing for a past that may have never been what I now imagine it to be; I know reasonably well the dull ache for people and places gone forever, even when that longing is ontologically misplaced. I know all this not only from my own long and neurotic experience, but also from my schooling in the soundtrack of German romanticism, in which the keenest longing -- Sehnsucht -- is a guiding ethos.
My new son wakes up in the middle of the night and cries for hours and will not be consoled. My husband suggested that he, too, knows Sehnsucht. The present is better than the often-idealized past, but it's hard to explain that to a post-institutionalized, pre-verbal toddler in culture shock.
So this goes out to Jude; music by Schubert, text by Goethe:
Over all the hilltops
In all the treetops
hardly a breath of air.
The little birds fall silent in the woods.
Just wait: soon
you too will rest.