The past few months have found me at the piano, brushing up on a skill that's become rusty over many years. I've especially enjoyed going through stacks of music I've collected, becoming reacquainted with songs I've loved and played in the past. One of these is the 3rd Nocturne in Liszt's piano set entitled Liebestraume (German for "Dreams of Love.)
The flowing melody, evoking as sense of longing, at times gentle, at times soaring, was inspired by a poem from Ferdinand Freiligrath. The first several lines are translated:
Oh love, love as long as you can, love as long as you are able
The hour is coming when you will be stand by the grave and weep.
The poem is written as an encouragement to love well the friends and lovers in one's life, as one day they will no longer be with us, and we may feel a strong sense of regret. Having spent some time recently with Dan's folks in a retirement community in Florida, I'm newly impressed with the inevitability of death, both one's own and that of ones you love. When time is short, it's folly to get caught up in small concerns; important to forgive quickly and move on.
Although the poem is written about human relationships, I can't help but recommit myself to love as well the nature that surrounds me - the swirling colors of a flower, the strength of an osprey, talons grasping a fresh-caught fish, the crescent moon that garnishes a starlit sky. These are gifts I don't want to leave unopened, joys I want to savor while I can. To live well is to love well - as long as I can.
Here's a version for you to enjoy.