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Contemporary Poems About or Inspired by Keats

PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:41 pm
by Malia
Hi Everyone,
I just found a great contemporary poem that owes quite a debt to John Keats. The poet who composed it is named Dean Young and the poem was published in 2002. I understand that Dean Young is an American from the "New York School" of poetry. Mr. Young has a certain kinship to Keats because he, too, started in medicine (training to be a nurse) before he turned his life over to poetry. He also has a cat named Keats :)

Here's the poem--harrowing and beautiful:

I See A Lily on Thy Brow
by Dean Young, from Skid (2002)

It is 1816 and you gash your hand unloading
a crate of geese, but if you keep working
you’ll be able to buy a bucket of beer
with your potatoes. You’re probably 14 although

no one knows for sure and the whore you sometimes
sleep with could be your younger sister
and when your hand throbs to twice its size
turning the fingernails green, she knots

a poultice of mustard and turkey grease
but the next morning, you wake to a yellow
world and stumble through the London streets
until your head implodes like a suffocated

fire stuffing your nose with rancid smoke.
Somehow you’re removed to Guy’s Infirmary.
It’s Tuesday. The surgeon will demonstrate
on Wednesday and you’re the demonstration.

Five guzzles of brandy then they hoist you
into the theater, into the trapped drone
and humid scuffle, the throng of students
a single body staked with a thousand peering

bulbs and the doctor begins to saw. Of course
you’ll die in a week, suppurating on a camphor-
soaked sheet but now you scream and scream
plash in a red river, in a sulfuric steam

But above you, the assistant holding you down,
trying to fix you with sad, electric eyes
is John Keats.

Re: Contemporary Poems About or Inspired by Keats

PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:31 am
by BrokenLyre
Interesting find.

Re: Contemporary Poems About or Inspired by Keats

PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:54 am
by Ennis
Harrowing and beautiful is is!

"Sad and electric eyes is John Keats."