For Hanna Neumann (1914-1971)


Stolid. Brown. Plastic.  
The Acme Of Uncool.  And yet,
This instrument was once owned & blown
By one who, defiant and smoking,
Strolled right past the Nazis;

Who forsook her own country
To raise five children in exile;
Who foraged wildflowers and mushrooms
To fill her bicycle basket
While her husband went wandering.

Exploring pure mathematics,
She broke beyond brackets
Until a blood vessel burst,
Flood-drowned her brain.
A University building now carries her name.

Sometimes I blow her Bakelite blockflöte,
Digits & breath rerouting resistance
Rediscovering and rendering
Hanna’s past loves — her Telemann & Co.,
Whose Art of Expiring transfigures time.


Arjun von Caemmerer reads 'Dolmetsch'