Tuesday, 27 October 2015

This Living Hand

 

The Romantics knew how to do spooky, being so taken with the metaphysical and supernatural. Vampires were a common muse for them and lots of long ballads have been written on that subject matter by the big names of the movement -  Keats 'Lamia' for one and Coleridge's 'Christabel' - but both too long to post here.

But here is a poem by Keats about life after death, about ghosts and an eerie promise of eternal love. I like this one because it's short (unusual, for Keats) and well, has an undeniably creepy feel to it with unintentional suggestions of a disembodied hand. Whatever about love beyond the grave, I think this kind of promise takes it a bit too far, don't you? 


This Living Hand - John Keats
This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d – see here it is –
I hold it towards you.


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