Roughly translated from German:
Music is love.
It can laugh with me.
It can cry with me.
It can bring together what was once separated.
Music can tell me what lips are afraid to say.
Music can bring back what I lost.
Music alone therefore is chosen.
Margarete Kernbach is my grandmother on my mother’s side. I found this parchment with her words following my mother’s death in 2012. It was among the things she left behind, very simply preserved in a plastic frame. I never knew my Oma wrote poetry. Nor do I know if this was the only poem or if there were ever any other writings by her. I only know of this one.
Discovering this little poem ties me to my grandmother in a profound way, at least for me it does. Not that I realized it at that moment though. I kept it for sentimental reasons, like so many things that I took from the apartment after my mother died. It wasn’t until I began writing poetry these last few years that I remembered I had this in my possession. But then I realized, I had a connection to her that was far more substantial than the entirety of our relationship as I was growing up. She never played an influential role in my life as she was a very distant woman, as I recall. And incredibly superficial, like most of my family.
She may have had some depth about her after all but obviously was not able to have it with her own flesh and blood. I’m still sad in that regard. But I’ve been moved knowing that I maybe share this love of poetry with her.
It helps me understand where my love for words, expression, passion, and emotions come from. And also, where my desire to be honest about my feelings regarding all things sprang from. She’s in my blood obviously, but now, she is meaningful to me in a way she wasn’t before.
Today, I still consider her more of a mystery than anything else, but at least we have one thing in common now.
I kinda like knowing where I got my start.