Keats Song

Gorgeous language follows Keats
like a kicked dog down Cockney streets
waving a Technicolor tail
as it snuffles tropes along the trail.

The moon swims near & Fanny comes
Keats-wards through the vital slums.
The dog grows brawny as the time requires
& lifts its leg on passion’s fires

To no avail. Keats at the bar
drinks a Shandy from a pickle jar,
blows a flea from the young girl’s ear
to make sure her auditory nerve is clear

And in a fog of blood-laced breath
invites dear Fanny to assuage his death;
she angles a knee to hide her teeth
& giggles on to Keats’ grief:

“Is Beauty Truth & is Truth Beauty?
“Why should those words do double duty
“when neither is applicable
“in a world of steam, cast iron, steel cable?

“And should a girl bestow her treasure
“on one who writes in common measure:
“a weak-loined, coughing, homely bore
“who tells us: ‘load your rifts with ore’?

“A barber with a steady blade
“can feed & clothe an honest maid
“much better than a poet can
“perform the duties of a modern man.”
Keats rubs his freckled brow, & meekly
drawls a wheeze & drops a tear

“In Italy I’ll mend completely!…”

““But you’ll still be a poet, dear!”

“Farewell, Pure Soul, I’ll find another

“who knows the proper time to write

“is with a pen between the covers

“from dusk to dawn without a light.”


Trotting down an Attic Mile
on toe nails of olive oil & tile:
the small rough dog that scratches, moans,
& gnaws the “pneu” from Grecian bones,

& gives away all that it owns.




Jesse Glass
Word & image

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