Archive for the ‘Keats’ Category

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would[st] wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience calm’d – see, here it is –
I hold it towards you.

This is the first poem I can remember provoking a very visceral reaction in me.  Other poems I had known as beautiful, or there was something in them that snagged me.  This one, however, is like a mini horror show.  It starts with that nice, reassuring first line, then bit by bit pulls you into death and the possibility of agonising remorse, ending with brandishing the now terrible object in your face.  It’s wonderful!  Dang, that boy’s good.

It’s funny – for all it’s style and craft, this is still the work of a young author.  There’s a bit of the pouty teenager (“What if I were dead!?  You’d be sorry then!”) in it.  There’s also shades of the preadolescent boy shoving a frog in the face of his crush, and being both thrilled and disappointed when she runs away.  I think that’s also part of why I love this poem so.  I’ve always had a soft spot for little stinkers.  Keat’s emotional manipulation makes me laugh.


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