I first came into touch with the English Romatic poet John Keats and this particular poem when reading Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos about 10 years ago. In these books, incarnations of John Keats appear, which had a quite intriguing effect on me and inspired a fruitful period of engagement with English poetry. While Keats’ epic poems with their incredibly emotional and figurative language can be a little… let’s say exhausting… when I’m not in a special mood, this poem was a far more persistent companion during all these years. It is an interesting, beautiful poetic description of the interaction of author/artist and reader/spectator.
This living hand, now warm and capableOf earnest grasping, would, if it were coldAnd in the icy silence of the tomb,So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nightsThat thou would wish thine own heart dry of bloodSo in my veins red life might stream again,And thou be conscience-calm’d–see here it is–I hold it towards you.