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Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Summer Triangle (Keats, London, 1819)


Inconveniences of a Crowded Drawing Room: George Cruikshank, 1818

After a night of whisk and brag and gin and water
At Rice's cardplaying club on Poland Street,
Coming out before dawn under the lyric stars,
Vega conspicuous at the point of the Lyre

At five o'clock of a summer morning encompassing
286 square degrees of the London Arabic sky,
The whole fate drama hoving into view,
While the slow making of souls overshadows

Every thing -- in this vale of sorrows and of
The stubborn drive to find something outside
The frail shell of ourselves and our concerns
With which we might identify --

The burden of the mystery producing a sharp, acute
Light that pierces the drawingroom, the sparring
Ring and the cockpit footloose Junkets haunts,
Deneb and Altair locked across the dark

Sky to form the asterism known as the Summer Triangle

from TC: Junkets on a Sad Planet: Scenes from the Life of John Keats
("Junkets": Leigh Hunt's nickname for John Keats, a play on Keats's Cockney pronunciation of his own name)

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