Stephen Robertson

Slanting Lines

The Lieder
a rondeau

In any season, some young man will wander

along the byways, thoughts tragic or tender—

of love unfinished or of peaceful earth,

the mill-girl’s beauty or the maiden’s death,

the trout that dart and pause and flicker under

the bubbling brooks, that chatter and meander;

of Ellen, Norna, or of Rosamunde.

Sorrow, longing, dreams pervade the path

in any season.

The author, he whose life the fates would squander—

such richness in his music did he render

for all of us, such beauty brought he forth;

and at the end, almost with dying breath,

a swan-song, left behind for us to ponder,

in any season.