John Keats 1795-1821
Melancholy's lack of zest
Was written all over his palimpsest:
To die at twenty-five to some
Will hardly seem to have been alive.
But Johnny Keats lived and loved
for poetry, music, kisses, tears
He tried his best to stay alive
With medicine and Fanny's tears
No crossing of the river Lethe, as yet,
Undefeated by TB, at least temporarily,
No seeking out of empty-headed
Oblivion either. He preferred to breathe,
To feel, to see, to hear, to think, to write.
He did not measure out his life in years
But rose to the attainment of that rarest
Of rare orchids, love. What will survive of us.
Devote your time to love and friendship
To all the passingness of life. Johnny
Keats, the poet-physician, balanced
His surface understanding of anatomy
With the hidden mysteries of the body
And soul. His alchemical intuitions since
Borne out by quantum physics:
Time is such a slippery beast, for footloose Cavaliers,
And life is so much more
Than the passing of the years.