I thought, since my category cloud is heavily focused on music, at the moment, it was time to switch. I’m not writing a review of any book at the moment (I don’t have time – I’m supposed to be revising Biology… I’m on something called ‘Study Break’, formerly known as Easter Holidays, which my school has stolen from us. Now, we get to have our Easter Weekend in the middle of Summer term. It makes no sense. Anyway…)

So, rather than a review, here’s some poetry in a nice, bitesize form. This is actually for my benefit, really, because I’ve decided that in order to be able to write poetry, you have to have read a great deal of it first. This way, I’ll get to read a poem a day (for as long as I can keep this up). I’m also supposed to be studying poetry for GCSE English, but I hate the poems I’m being forcefed. In fact, while we’re on the subject of GCSE English, I find the system stupid. They’re giving us something like an hour to write two literature essay questions. There’s no way you can write anything worth reading in half an hour. So, basically, this is an exercise in ticking boxes, which is a skill I lack. Personally, I think GCSE English puts people off doing English Literature for A level, because it’s so superficial and boring. Grr.

Anyway, rant over. Back to the poetry. I love this poem, its two visions of time. It’s one of Keat’s most paradoxical poems – he longs to live in an unchanging state, but also to love and to love, he must be human and therefore mortal. So… Poem:

John Keats

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon in death.

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