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Thursday, 1 October 2009

Wine and Fever (Summer 1820)


File:Verre de Cerdon 2.JPG

I am in my altitudes
after two glasses of claret
but then my diagnosis sinks
in all over again -- I feel

my lunes are sneaking up --
I am beat all hollow --
fate goes against my pluck --
I wanted to be great

now there's no world left me
to be great in -- anyway
I'm long since departed,
no longer speaking from myself

but from some other being
in whose soul I now live --
poetry information, primitive
sense -- what I can't finish

I won't begin -- my doctors say
be moderate -- if they only knew
I drink out of the bottle
till the island comes into view

File:Rowlandson - The Anatomist.JPG

Prise de vue d'une cerre de cerdon at d'une bouteille: photo by Jejecam, 2008
The Anatomist: Thomas Rowlandson, 1811

from TC: Junkets on a Sad Planet: Scenes from the Life of John Keats


Elmo St. Rose said...

Dear TC,
I didn't see the movie but I just
did buy your book and I urge others
to buy it too.
Life is fleeting and though the
doctors for the most part can cure
tuberculosis they have no drug for
truth and beauty, it's perception or it's appreciation.
We saw a John Constable exhibit at
the National Gallery a few years
I wonder what it would be like to
be transposed to the English landscape and hear Keats within it.
The National Gallery would never
come up with that but it should.
Think how the world might be different if the young in their
education truly contemplated the
life of Keats and his way: "Beauty
is Truth, Truth Beauty...that is all ye know on earth and all ye need know"
It wouldn't be a complete education
but it would be a heck of a start.
Now it's free and on the net...
courtesy of TC.

TC said...


Reflecting upon your words, I think of your own youthful (and mature for that matter) stubborn idealism, rather Keatsian in a way, maybe.

Have you ever wondered what sort of doctor JK might have made, had he stuck it out?

(Sometimes when the thorny issue of how he might actually make a living was raised, he would talk about signing on as a ship's medic on an East Indiaman; but it doesn't appear such talk was taken very seriously by anyone, including himself.)