Friday, June 24, 2011

Jogging with John

I thought about John Keats today
and about St. Agnes’ Eve,
how bitter chill it was.
Down here in the swampland
there is no chill,
and as I ran this morn
sweat pumped from every pore.

I thought about the owl,
a’cold, for all his feathers.
If I had feathers
I’d choose to have them on my feet.
I’d fly along th’ heat-shimmered street
like wingéd Hermes
on a mission from the gods,
dropping off a billet doux
from Aphrodite to her husband,
lame Hephaestus, at work below
at th’ eternal forge.
The heat that blasts his seaméd face
is of the dry variety
and would seem a quaint relief to me.

When I reached home at last,
Keats met me at the door
(only one of us was real;
take your pick).
We took our seats on my front porch bench
each in his hand a beaded glass
filled with ice and lemonade,
and I managed not to smack him
when he toasted me with his and said,
“Hot enough for you, Bill?”

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