Poems in Praise of Keats

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Poems in Praise of Keats

Postby Malia » Tue Jan 31, 2006 7:19 am

I was looking through my bookshelves tonight and I came across a book of poems by the Harlem Renaissance poet, Countee Cullen whose work is deeply influenced by Keats. In fact, he wrote several poems with Keats as his subject. Here is my favorite.

To John Keats, Poet. At Spring Time

I cannot hold my peace, John Keats;
There never was a spring like this;
It is an echo, that repeats
My last year's song and next year's bliss.
I know, in spite of all men say
Of Beauty, you have felt her most.
Yea, even in your grave her way
Is laid. Poor, troubled, lyric ghost,
Spring never was so fair and dear
As Beauty makes her seem this year.

I cannot hold my peace, John Keats,
I am as helpless in the toil
Of Spring as any lamb that bleats
To feel the solid earth recoil
Beneath his puny legs. Spring beats
Her tocsin call to those who love her,
And lo! the dogwood petals cover
Her breast with drifts of snow, and sleek
White gulls fly screaming to her, and hover
About her shoulders, and kiss her cheek,
While white and purple lilacs muster
A strength that bears them to a cluster
Of color and odor; for her sake
All things that sleep are now awake.

And you and I, shall we lie still,
John Keats, while Beauty summons us?
Somehow I feel your sensitive will
Is pulsing up some tremulous
Sap road of a maple tree, whose leaves
Grow music as they grow, since your
Wild voice is in them, a harp that grieves
For life that opens death's dark door.
Though dust, your fingers still can push
The Vision Splendid to a birth,
Though now they work as grass in the hush
Of the night on the broad sweet page of the earth.

"John Keats is dead," they say, but I
Who hear your full insistent cry
In bud and blossom, leaf and tree,
Know John Keats still writes poetry.
And while my head is earthward bowed
To read new life sprung from your shroud,
Folks seeing me must think it strange
That merely spring should so derange
My mind. They do not know that you,
John Keats, keep revel with me, too.
Stay Awake!
--Anthony deMello
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Postby Credo Buffa » Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:03 am

I love that poem! There seems almost nothing so intimate as one artist using his/her work to praise another.

Here's another of my favorites by Oscar Wilde. It almost makes me feel guilty about reading the letters!

"On the Sale by Auction of Keats' Love Letters"

These are the letters which Endymion wrote
To one he loved in secret, and apart.
And now the brawlers of the auction mart
Bargain and bid for each poor blotted note,
Ay! for each separate pulse of passion quote
The merchant's price. I think they love not art
Who break the crystal of a poet's heart
That small and sickly eyes may glare and gloat.

Is it not said that many years ago,
In a far Eastern town, some soldiers ran
With torches through the midnight, and began
To wrangle for mean raiment, and to throw
Dice for the garments of a wretched man,
Not knowing the God's wonder, or His woe?
"Holy Kleenex, Batman! It was right under our nose and we blew it!"
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Postby Saturn » Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:07 am

Nice poems there - I love the last lines of the first one

"They do not know that you,
John Keats, keep revel with me, too."

I'd never heard of, or read that one before.

However, can I just point out that this section is supposed to be for your OWN work, not other published poets :roll:

I may move this to Keats 'Around The World'.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby Malia » Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:01 pm

Credo Buffa wrote:Here's another of my favorites by Oscar Wilde. It almost makes me feel guilty about reading the letters!


That's a great poem, Credo Buffa--and I don't think I've ever read it before. I'll admit, there are times, though I don't exactly feel *guilty* reading Keats's letters, I feel like I'm really delving into an extremely private world and I can almost imagine the horror Keats would feel at someone reading, say, an account of his taking a letter of Fanny's to bed with him to put under his pillow.

But I don't feel guilty reading the letters because Keats (and all his works) belongs to the ages, now, and we have learned so much about him and his work from all of his letters--they are to me as priceless as his poems.
Stay Awake!
--Anthony deMello
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Postby Malia » Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:04 pm

Saturn wrote:
However, can I just point out that this section is supposed to be for your OWN work, not other published poets :roll:

I may move this to Keats 'Around The World'.


Sorry, Saturn. I didn't realize that this area was only for our poems. I figured any poem dealing with Keats (that wasn't written by him) would fit here. That's what I get for posting right before bed when I'm just nodding off. :lol:
Stay Awake!
--Anthony deMello
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Postby Saturn » Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:38 pm

No problem - in future just post them maybe in the Msicellaneous or the Keats Around The World section :wink:

I probably was too vague when I wrote the little explanation under the title.

I hope I've made it clearer now that this section is for your own compositions.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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