Saturday, September 15, 2012
Classic Poetry - "This Living Hand" by John Keats
John Keats, 1795 - 1821
Known most famously for "Ode on a Grecian Urn," "Isabella" and other works of similar heft and tone, John Keats occasionally penned brief, direct pieces like the one below. Unlike his more recognizable works, these shorter poems often resisted telling the whole tale.
Look at the poem's form. Note that the last line appears to be unfinished. Now read it. Do you feel as if you've been left dangling?
Great device, this. Great little bit of unrhymed iambic pentameter. Masterful!
This Living Hand
This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou wouldst wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calmed—see here it is—
I hold it towards you.