On Looking Into Keats's Letters
This for certain, Keats has a temper;
he knows how to take it and dish it out.
Mark well when he warns us,
Keats will decode our doubts.
Or misbehave at the party buffet freely,
cause fastidious guests to
veer away queasily.
He might even ill-use our most precious sofa,
as he separates us from our loneliest offer.
And foodfighting to submission our implacable blase,
he'll drink our cool, cellar-hid claret,
hatch sonnets in our lingerie.
He'll hang hostiles in the garret,
drip honey over all our storage density.
Then speaking of beauty when we're bored,
he'll vex with seriousness all our leisure activities.
Some morning, when we're cranky,
and narrow, and bleary,
we'll find Keats a saint, but since he's shone bright too early,
we'll lock him in cupboards with freaks and imponderables,
and swear the key to happiness is
status and convertibles.
Jay Mandeville's Other Poems
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