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This poem explores the moment when Ludwig van Beethoven realized he was going deaf.

Going Deaf

Andrew_sunset_imageby Andrew McDiarmid01 May 2014

He sat that night in the company
of himself, crying was pointless,
rage was a waste. He had strained
to hear the flute and the shepherd’s voice
and had heard nothing beyond the muffled
questions of his countryside companion.
In terms of pure convenience
consumption would have been better,
typhus perhaps, even blindness.
He didn’t have a right to be compared
to Job but the thought came anyway
as he realized the only One who truly loved him
was allowing sound to slip away.
Instead of reaching for rope or the latch
of his third floor window he picked up
his sketchbook, closed his eyes, fingered
the tranquil air and began to compose.
Sound be damned, he whispered,
as the first strains of his 8th Sonata
for Violin and Piano came to him,
frenzied, bright, hopeful, adamant.
The best was yet to come.

First published in Acumen Literary Journal
(#80, Sept. 2014)