Jo March

Adonais

Drops of mercury seem to measure out your life

Elegant perfect spheres falling through the thermometer... drop by drop

You somehow feel that you have seconds left to live

But you don’t want to blame them because they are not guilty

They just don’t know how to ease your pain

They tried to put you together mercury drop by mercury drop

But it was pointless and you were left alone to survive the last few moments

Just a few… in a lovely but pitiless world

 

You gave them your messages in elegant crystal beakers

Yet trapped in a thermometer your temperature registered fever

That is still coloring your pale cheek

You caught the songs of summer from fairies’ vales

You enclosed your warm trembling soul between the petals of violets…

And all along you longed for wings… golden, beautiful, light wings…

Feathered with the dust of angels’ dreams and ageless legends

Wrapped in the crystalline freshness of summer rain…

 

But perhaps you didn’t realize you already had them

There crisscrossed behind your thin shoulder blades

They were there but you dared not lift them

As you stood facing the wide wide world…

You saw so many angels flying home…

One by one they left the windowsills of nearby houses

They flew together swiftly to a sunlit place

A place you liked to call the vale of soul-making

 

You watched them and your eyes glistened with delight

But a painful feeling gave way to a lurking fear

The fear that you had a few hours left to live

Your final hours trapped inside an hourglass

Your thin frame shriveled caught in a fierce struggle for life

Plagued by the merciless burning of your fever

You felt your life’s blood ebbing away and all at once you knew

Never again would you be comforted like you once were

 

Not by the soul-awakening song of the nightingale

And not even by the quiet whispers of elfin spring

Not by the dance of fairies to the hum of fireflies

Not by the sweet promises of love’s warm bliss

You understood and in bitterness tried to accept it

As poisonous drops of mercury cut off your life

You tried to follow your soul’s flight to the valley glades

But your soft dreams ended lost on their way to fairies’ vales

 

And yet you ached for life and loved it with every fiber of your being

You longed for angels’ choirs and grasshoppers’ chirps in summer twilight

For beauty and truth in epic wonders and the tender bloom of violets

You longed for hushed moments of bliss in midnight stillness

But you knew that your lifeline had already been cut off

You could only bless the lovely long hour we usually call life

And wait for the end when the fairies will finally pick up your soul

And carry it away while your quiet breath blends with the fairy dust

 

Wrapped in beauty and truth your soul will rest in peace and endless joy

You will see fairies’ dreams and angels’ banquets in full glory

Very soon you will behold Psyche crowned with the immortals

Soon after will you join the blissful feast of many kindred souls

At long last will your own soul be freed from earthly pain

With a full heart will you sing summer songs with skylarks and nightingales

And watch in tender joy how angels fly and strum their golden harps

Or play with zephyrs in fairy lands on enchanted summer nights

 

Drops of mercury have long measured out your life

Rains have passed in the midst of innumerable shadows

And yet you are among us sitting at our tables

In the wake of our troubles and passionate joys

You are among us walking in our forests

And listening to yesterday’s tales and today’s wonders

We feel that you are with us although you have long gone away

Long departed down a mossy path to follow your runaway soul

Your lovely soul wrapped in light and freed forever from mortal pain…

 

Comments2

  • MendedFences27

    An excellent tribute poem. From what I know of his life and works it seems to capture both. A short life for such a great poet. And now, hundreds of years later, his work remains, or as you have said he is "among us sitting at our tables," and "walking in our forests." Of his work, the ballad, "La Belle Dame sans Merci" is my most remembered. Thanks for posting, it refreshed my appreciation of Keats. - Phil A.

  • Jo March

    Thank you so much for responding to my poem. Yes, Keats lived a very short life. What is interesting is that no matter how many times I reread some of his poems such as "Ode to a Nightingale" and "Ode to Psyche", I always discover something new to marvel at, to explore further. "La Belle Dame sans Merci" is also one of my favorites as well as, of course, his famous odes, especially "Ode to a Nightingale" and "Ode to Psyche". Another wonderful poem I discovered recently is his "To George Felton Mathew" (his own tribute to a fellow poet).



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