Treasure Island

Franz Werfel

(10 September 1890 – 26 August 1945 / Prague)

Six Septets To Honor The Spring Of 1905


Maria Immisch was the springtime.
With feeling and reverence
I snatch her adored name from the underworld.
When I was fifteen in '05, that year
—they celebrated the big Schiller centennial
—and I saw her as heroine in his famous plays.
To this day my heart's still thankful.

The city park was already dense in leaf.
The lilacs beckoned. I was allowed
Entry into the Classical Theater.
I sat in the overpacked balcony.
She stood inflamed with her stage magic presence
While a storm of emotions raged through my fresh heart
As did the song of Schiller's iambs.

Her hair was black. Her eyes were blue.
She played girl, child, and lady
In peplum, petticoat, Stuart collar, cloak.
She spoke the words in a dark contralto.
She strode and suffered and died, her character on air.
She was that woman. She was my dear and holy faith,
The one who pierced the invulnerable me.

The spring named Maria Immisch
Showed me the way to this far shore.
She was the springtime. But I was in bloom.
I became dead quiet. Life was too big.
My hopeless case was at school
For I studied her picture all the live-long day
Painfully healthy, so blissfully sick.

That night I fled from the house
And stood with that cuffed bouquet,
Lacking the audacity, outside the stage door.
She came out with a gentleman trimmed in fur,
She was the star of the city, she was a star.
In utter silence I retreated with my flowers from that place
Almost relieved that I had failed.

The night was moon-white in the park.
I tossed those flowers in the pond.
There they floated. I didn't mean it to be symbolic.
My heart wasn't hurt, wasn't greedy for pain.
For the first time I had an inkling of warm tears,
That we only get what we never get.
Maria Immisch, the spring '05, be thanked.

Submitted: Friday, March 30, 2012
Edited: Saturday, March 31, 2012

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