Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On Keats's Urn ( a Poem By Me)

On Keats’s Urn

Keats spoke of ‘slow time’,
foster-father of a Grecian Urn,
of frozen sculpted reliefs
of Dionysian ecstasies,
of inflamed lovers in flight and in pursuit,
of a pastoral piper
playing his pipes under Spring’s foliage,
wind blown silently on wind,
pattern of wood on marble,
and of the quiet celebration of communal pieties—
the urn shaping hot longings
into attitudes of grace,
freezing grace into marble immobility,
for Keats a ‘Cold Pastoral’,
the stasis of boiling blood.

Why ‘foster-child’ of ‘silence and slow time’?
Is it that in the immaculateness of Keats’s art,
cold as marble,
conception is but a longing,
no, rather, the image of a longing,
a song ears never hear,
all still,
all passion arrested,
still and ‘unravished’,
cold marble a bridal bed?
Keats, his mind fevered,
his blood boiling,
his longing deathward,
found comfort in cold form,
balm for riddled life,
in soothing sentences on beauty and on truth,
consoling compress for his hot heart.

‘Slow time’, we must know, is no answer
as Keats himself so hotly urged.
With ‘Panting pursuit’, ‘parched tongue’
and “men and maidens overwrought’,
he gave the lie to his own notions,
like Shakespeare’s Shylock,
cracking the cold marble
of Venice’s frozen romance,
with wounds and bleeding
and salt on wound and pain,
exotic force, insisting on his bond,
invoking old bible rectitude,
shattering the cold lies
--("Thou torturest me, Tubal: it was my
turquoise; I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor:
I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.")--
with his raging gracelessness,
more than known on earth
and more than can be known.


  1. Quite wonderful if I say so myself

  2. thanks for letting me know about this.

  3. Look, they quote Yeats, you might like this http://paper.li/~/articles/801620947