Poem from Tom Keats to His Brother John

Here you can post YOUR OWN poems, prose, music, or art inspired by the 'Muses nine'.

Moderators: Saturn, Malia

Poem from Tom Keats to His Brother John

Postby Malia » Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:56 pm

I recently read through a book of biographical poetry written about Keats from the perspective of his family and friends and I was kind of disheartened to find that no poems were written from the perspective of his beloved brother Tom.

Tom really had an influence on Keats--both personally and poetically. Most scholars believe that Tom was the inspiration (at least in part) for Ode to a Nightingale and La Belle Dame. In letters to his brothers, Keats directly addressed Tom much more than he addressed George and George said Tom knew Keats better than anyone else--including George, himself.

With all that in mind--and the fact that I find Tom a great character in-and-of himself--I decided to try my hand at a poem from his perspective.

The poem is set in the summer of 1818 when Keats is on his walking tour of Scotland and Tom is alone at Well Walk. The only contact he has with his brother is through Keats's letters to him describing his journey with Brown.

To My Brother John, Summer 1818.

The summer sun slips into crimson sleep
And as night's first star wakes with watchful eye,
I reach for your letter and once more find
My mind to yours joined in communion deep;
Conquering crag, cavern and mountain steep;
Rising above thick mists that churn the sky
To take new wings and feel our spirits fly
Far from this world where men are born to weep.
Life, like firelight flickers and is gone.
Darkness deepens, yet death cannot destroy
The Beauty that lives in your lyric song,
Nor break my spirit with its fearful ploy.
For through your words, dear brother, I live on.
You have claimed for me an undying joy.
Last edited by Malia on Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Stay Awake!
--Anthony deMello
User avatar
Malia
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 1606
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:55 am
Location: Washington State, USA

Postby Despondence » Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:32 am

I gather you'll be cited as co-author on the 2nd revised edition then.. ;)
I like it; feels very contemplative, had to read it several times and try to imagine how Tom might speak to John in a poem. I don't know that I have anything to go on, to get inside Tom's mind, but your interpretation reads very nicely.
Despondence
 

Postby Discovery » Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:37 pm

Nice work! I especially like the first eight lines, somehow they just work better for me. Line 4 really gets across what you were saying George had said about them being very close. Do the last two lines refer to Tom having been his possible inspiration for 'Ode to a Nightingale' and 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci'?
Again, nice work I liked it!
Discovery
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 7:22 pm
Location: Liverpool

Postby Malia » Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:51 pm

Thanks guys! :) I'm glad you liked it.

Nathaniel, I agree with you--the first 8 lines are a lot better than the rest of the poem. I tell ya, it's tough making that transition in the middle of a sonnet--and trying to find three decent rhymes for "oy" was well nigh impossible for this beginner! :lol:

I've got to hand it to all you real poets out there! Writing poetry is NOT easy.
Stay Awake!
--Anthony deMello
User avatar
Malia
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 1606
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:55 am
Location: Washington State, USA

Postby Fortuna » Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:40 pm

That was just beautiful. From the small details I know of Tom Keats, this poem captured how I envisioned him. If the real Tom was as a talented writer as you are Malia, I believe his death would have been a tragic loss for the poetic world indeed. :)
User avatar
Fortuna
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:58 pm
Location: Australia

Re: Poem from Tom Keats to His Brother John

Postby Saturn » Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:56 pm

Malia wrote:To My Brother John, Summer 1818.

The summer sun slips into crimson sleep
And as night's first star wakes with watchful eye,
I reach for your letter and once more find
My mind to yours joined in communion deep;
Conquering craig, cavern and mountain steep;
Rising above thick mists that churn the sky
To take new wings and feel our spirits fly
Far from this world where men are born to weep.
Life, like firelight flickers and is gone.
Darkness deepens, yet death cannot destroy
The Beauty that lives in your lyric song,
Nor break my spirit with its fearful ploy.
For through your words, dear brother, I live on.
You have claimed for me an undying joy.


Wonderful Malia - that's really good I mean that. One little mistake I noticed [being the insufferable pedant I am] :

"Conquering craig, cavern and mountain steep..."

Though you could be even more cunning if you've worked into that line a reference to Ailsa Craig which Keats saw in his travels :wink:

If so apologies for my denseness :?
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3940
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby Malia » Wed Mar 22, 2006 6:55 pm

Thanks Fortuna and Saturn for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it and that it sounded realistic--in that it fits the "character" of Tom. . .the little that we know of him.

Saturn, I must be pretty dense myself because I don't understand your comment regarding "craig"--did I spell it wrong? Or was it that "Alisa Craig" would sound better?

Sorry I'm so confused--I mean, I *did* almost address you as Severn in a separate post this morning. Oh, where did my latte go? I need it! Hmm. . .perhaps that's a new theme for another poem! :lol:
Stay Awake!
--Anthony deMello
User avatar
Malia
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 1606
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:55 am
Location: Washington State, USA

Postby Saturn » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:02 pm

Did you not mean to write/type 'crag' not 'craig'.

Unless I'm missing something and the US spelling of this word is different?

Hmm - I've dug for myself a little pedantic hole in my imagination.

Will someone please drop down the ladder of common-sense?

:wink:
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3940
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby Malia » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:05 pm

Ah! OK, now I understand. My spelling was probably wrong. Thanks for catching it--as I'm not the greatest speller in the world (Kinda like our man Keats! I may not have his genious, but at least I have *something* in common with him :lol: )

Mahalo for the clarification :)
Stay Awake!
--Anthony deMello
User avatar
Malia
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 1606
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:55 am
Location: Washington State, USA

Postby Saturn » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:52 pm

My anally-retentive nature strikes again :shock:
Last edited by Saturn on Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3940
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby Credo Buffa » Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:06 am

Lovely, Malia!
"Holy Kleenex, Batman! It was right under our nose and we blew it!"
User avatar
Credo Buffa
Lamia
 
Posts: 935
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:42 am
Location: Minnesota


Return to ‘Where’s the Poet? Show him! Show him!’

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests