What god did not genius grant
without a price beyond recant?
For Keats rode his daydreams swift
unto the empire of his gift
and in return gave libations full
to quench the god that bore his hull
with a cascading sanguine surfeit tide
upon which Despair rode astride,
reaching for the farthest protean shore,
his wish thus granted, and such much more
that lyrical currents carried on and on
his fame, his name, with each new dawn
and though his bright star was ill-borne
upon red wavelets he did but mourn
his name was never written on the waters,
but in the hearts of England’s sons and daughters.
He wrote hurriedly at the darkening eve
and yet his life was ever at the moth-time,
hand and quill fluttering fast at lantern’s reprieve
while oil and ink bled out for a lasting rhyme.
Crickets and critics sawed a mocking song
to hasten the falling shroud of Night,
but though the sun lasted not so long,
a bright star was raised to a new height.
For far above and aloft it shined and shined
where neither voice nor quill might impugn
the tragic poet whose lustrous life declined—
he became companion to the moon.
(Recently I resumed reading the poetry of John Keats. One of the premiere English Romanticists, Keats lived a tragically short life, dying at the age of 25 while mourning his own presumably insignificant contributions to English Literature. While Keats was often possessed of a brilliant acumen for observing and encoding Truth with beautiful imagery, he was thankfully quite wrong concerning his own legacy. He died thinking himself nothing more than up-flown dust on an errant wind, and stands tall as a titan in Western poetry. I simply wanted to show my appreciation for his terrible tragedies and his enduring genius.)