Who can say it better than Hermann Hesse said it, that if more people read itinerant Swiss writer Robert Walser the world would be a better place. His writings are those of a man possessed by life as something extraordinary, a landscape of cloudburst and leaf and riding across the Potsdamer Platz in an omnibus. His gifts are so plentiful, they threaten to break him. Perhaps that’s why these pieces of his life and work are so brief and so fleeting. Like sheets of ice melting in a sudden thaw. Whether reflecting on Theseus and Hercules or the wind (“Does the wind not feel that it is windy?”) Walser offers up a deeply poetic visionary world. One can see why he abandoned himself to an insane asylum — he needed a safe place to contain his brilliance.
Why is foliage dying in the autumn secretly golden, and why does one think of springtime flowers having tongues, to shape some kind of conversation.. The wind seems to be an undependable blunderer; its lull is as sweet as compliance, blissful in itself, flowing round itself, feeling itself beautiful.
He was young, handsome and exuberant, she sly and sensitive. Classicism in person, she had something fond and obstreperous to deal with in him. On the water of the pond that appertained to the garden extending behind the house, swans were swimming.
He was always wanting more from her than she had the capacity to give, and again and again she found occasion to bid him content himself with kissing a small hand…
There was a long wait.