Gregory Orr

Getting Old, Thinking of Keats
May 26, 2018 Orr Gregory

Getting Old, Thinking of Keats


Even though I’m old now
And he never was,
I’m thinking of Keats
And how words he loved
Plumped and ripened
And fell away
From his tree of self
So others could savor
The phrases as he once did.

I used to think they were
Just luscious mouth-fruit,
But now, saying them
Aloud, I can taste,
Inside each word he chose,
A dense seed,
A something not-yet-realized–

As if his own death dreamed
A future in which
That word-husk
Split apart in the dark
Earth of another’s mind
To extend upward
One stalk; downward, one root.

Gregory Orr’s most recent book is A Primer for Poets and Readers of Poetry from W. W. Norton. His most recent poetry collection was River Inside the River (Norton, 2013). These poems are from a newly- completed collection.