Poem II: Romantic Era

O let me for one moment touch her wrist
Let me one moment to her breathing list;
And as she leaves me may she often turn
Her fair eyes looking through her locks auburne…

– John Keats at 22 years of age

Keats once prayed to touch a maiden’s wrist;
his prayer seems so ungluttonous to me,
forced to observe what gobblers men can be.
Myself, I pray against the day I’m kissed:
“I pray Thee, let there be no audience,
make him no urgent boy far too intense,
nor practiced beau who’ll grade my nerved embrace.”
I pray to be proposed to with some grace,
to have a longish garment, that first night,
and that my spouse won’t run his ship too tight.

How slowly, as my youthful years advance,
how surely have I ceased to dream romance.
But now the brisk young woman I’ve become
pauses from this modern anxious hum –

– and stops to read what Keats prayed, also young:
the maid of rustling gown awakes inside;
that goldfinch-watching Poet by his brook
sees me come, blushing, to the unplanned tryst;
greets me with startled look and lyric tongue;
pleads just to help me to the stream’s far side;
and often, leaving,  I do turn and look
between my hair, on him who touched my wrist –

To Poem III

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