Dying Like Keats

Richard Kirkwood

Like Keats, I am dying.
I am seeking the real
taste of the dark fall
melon before it closes- -
squeezing me
with its musk life
to something
smaller
and blinder
than its own seed.

I am dying.
Like Keats,
each dark day
I seek bright night
when the strange bird
sings
who seems to live
forever.
Its song bleeds
gaudy, lovely scents
among dream flowers.

Each day
as you
walk,
shadowed from the shadows,
songless
as a broken melon,
darker than a hidden song,
do you know- -
like Keats- -
are dying too?

Richard Kirkwood (1931-2013) lived in Eau Claire and taught at UWEC for 35 years. He was a beloved friend, colleague, and teacher of many. This poem is from Dying Like Keats, Red Weather Press, 1980, reprinted here by permission.

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