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For John Keats: This Living Hand

I think that I’m a candle
whose flame stays round the wick
whether set in one place or carried
never wavering an inch
from where I’ve always been.
I hold out my hand like you did.
When I’m happy and look at it
it’s not the same I see sadly
desiring or when I’m tired.
It changes with my feelings
which usually I don’t notice
like light and shadow pass over the day
revealing as the morning sun
obscured by clouds or tears.
When you vanished, did all vanish?
With a change of heart I change the world.






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-calmed—see here it is—
I hold it towards you.

1819

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