Interesting Literature

A summary of a remarkable short poetry fragment by John Keats

‘This living hand’ is an oddity amongst John Keats’s poetry – indeed, amongst Romantic poetry in general. Just eight lines long – or seven-and-a-half, even – it’s almost a fragment, written in blank verse, almost as if it’s a snippet of spoken dialogue from an unwritten play. (Fittingly, Keats wrote ‘This living hand’ on a manuscript page of one of his unfinished poems.) The most likely date for the poem’s composition is towards the end of 1819. A short summary and analysis of the poem’s contents (if it can be called a ‘poem’) may help to elucidate its meaning.

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,

View original post 763 more words