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
and blinder
than its own seed.

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

Each day
as you
shadowed from the shadows,
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.