Published on Academy of American Poets (


I look for words in the dark,
silently describing to myself
the particular conditions of the weather
on the morning I saw you most recently—
the wind, its patterned disarray—
my mind elsewhere, distracted, lyrical,
while the pianist plays an encore.
Mozart was born on this day
257 years ago. All day
I have been ungenerous, resentful,
impatient. In between
movements, no applause
but the old ladies cough loudly, violently.
We cannot last forever.
I loved music before I loved books.
I loved Mozart before I loved you.


Copyright © 2015 by Richie Hofmann. Used with permission of the author.

About this Poem

“I wrote this poem on January 27, 2013 after attending a recital by Marc-André Hamelin in Baltimore. I think it was mostly a Rachmaninoff program. As I listened, I remembered it was Mozart’s birthday, and I thought about scales of time—what is lasting, what love outlasts, and what outlasts love.”
Richie Hofmann


Richie Hofmann

Richie Hofmann is the author of Second Empire (Alice James Books, 2015). 

Date Published: 2015-01-27

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