Coming soon: a new web address for this blog!

[[[At the end of November I'll be migrating this blog to a new address, which will be:]]]

06 October 2014

for the real toads on Open Link Monday: John Keats (and a grasshopper)

The prompt for this Open Link Monday finds inspiration from a poet born in October...

John Keats was born 31 October 1795 - a Samhain child, though they wouldn't have called him such.

The Poetry Foundation says this of Keats:

"Keats today is seen as one of the canniest readers, interpreters, questioners, of the "modern" poetic project [...] to create poetry in a world devoid of mythic grandeur, poetry that sought its wonder in the desires and sufferings of the human heart."

At times he seems particularly morbid, but at times I think I like his morbid moments best. 

These, for example:

On Death

Ode to a Nightingale

... but as it turns out, he had something of a sense of humor, too:

Give me women, wine and snuff
Until I cry out «hold, enough!»
You may do so sans objection
Till the day of resurrection;
For bless my beard they aye shall be
My beloved Trinity.

Apparently, that poem has been discounted by at least some critics as "not a serious attempt at poety," but I think that's no reason to dismiss a poem. They can't all be serious, because that would be ridiculously tedious.

That's my opinion; your perspective may vary.

I'll tell you this: Perspective is a bitch of a thing.


The grasses ceded their whispering afternoon song to the high strains of an unfamiliar wail. A child - perhaps a girl - in a paisley dress had wandered in their garden. The wail was not hers; her song was softer and warbling, and it sputtered beneath the alien sound. Her steps faltered, stilled by the shake rising from knees to lips.
A cloud darkened as it covered the sun, and the wail rose again, tuneless and unfeeling, closer this time to the child's toes.
The child turned and ran.
The grasses bent their heads to the conquering grasshopper.

Written for Open Link Monday, inspired by Keats and Perspective. 


A reasonably thorough version of John Keats' Bio:
Website with Keats' complete list of poetry (I think it's complete, anyway): 


  1. I guess Keats and I have something in common. Some people think I'm a very morbid person because I tend to write about dark subject matter, but like His Nibs, I too am not without humor. Nice to know that I may be in good company!

  2. LOVE your perspective on Keats and the work of the master, too.

  3. thanks for popping in today are exactly right that they can not all be serious...ha...its an interesting voice in this one...the perhaps a girl line...said as if it did not matter...and you had me clenching a bit for what the wail might be...grasshoppers...ha..yes i have heard them too...smiles.

  4. I do love me some Keats poetic humor.

    By the way, I love reading the excerpt aloud... with my eyes wide and wild... and throwing a bit of Coleridge's Kubla Khan to the mix, just to achieve the proper amount of madness. ;-D

  5. Keats definitely has his own touch, and lived in a time when poetry a) was taken very seriously as an art form(unlike today) and b)really was supposed to be written a certain way--he managed to do so in his *own* way, and to write where his muse took him--thanks for compiling all this info and for that reading by Fitzgerald--read the poem many times, but his voice gives it a certain ...numbing--but maybe also alarming quality. Your own writing here is as beautiful as the night, and as frightening as the eye in the bush, or perhaps, the grasshopper that crawls down your neck.

  6. Keats is one of my all-time favourite poets. Thank you for sharing the poems you love with us in The Imaginary Garden.