Writing Matters bids farewell to one of our mightiest students

Rosemary DunnIt is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr Rosemary Dunn. Ro was a stalwart of the Deal class and an exceptional writer. She continued to write throughout her illness and has left a brilliant body of work for her family and friends to read and treasure.

Ro’s obituary appeared in the Guardian today: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/sep/01/rosemary-dunn-obituary but she is best remembered by her extraordinary writing. This poem, about her hero, appeared on the order of service at her funeral. Further examples of Ro’s work will be read at a concert to celebrate her life which will be held in 2017.

Homage by Rosemary Dunn

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) started to go deaf before he was 30. In 1824, and stone deaf, he completed his 9th symphony (the ‘Choral Symphony’ whose last movement contains the famous ‘Ode to Joy’ – now the European Anthem). He insisted on conducting the first performance so, to honour his request, he was placed to one side of the (hearing) conductor. At the end of the performance Beethoven had to be turned round to see the applause which he was unable to hear. 

They say
you enjoy a drink
with the locals

They say
you are spurned
in love

They say
you are ill-tempered
and grumpy

They say
your music is too hard
to play

They say
you’re thumping your piano
to bits.

But now, Ludwig,
let me place my hands
on your shoulders
and turn you round
to face the eye-music
of adulation

I can’t hear
what you are saying
because it is drowned
by the sounds
of cheering

I have seen
your ear bent close
to the keys, tilted
towards the visibility of your hands
shaping out
the splintered metaphors
of your music.

They say
you died in a thunderstorm

They say
you had white teeth
’til the day you died

I saw
an old man
in the Zentralfriedhof
bring you flowers

His own Ode to Joy

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