“Thy name is writ in water – it shall stand: | And tears like mine shall keep thy memory green.”
On reading these, the leaf of a certain page
Unfurled my hand, released a crimson line:
A paper cut, deep as a sliver, as light as thought,
As permanent as any love my age;
A cut that creased this trembling hand of mine.
But it stung like heartache, drenched in turpentine,
A smile on my hand in spite of sorrow’s mien:
A contemplation of some softer sage,
Who centuries before, had solace sought
From love’s last loss, a wound so tender and keen;
A scar that marked the softness of my hand,
And sealed with youthful tears: so it shall stand.
This is a double-palimpsest text if you like: based on an ode written by Oscar Wilde, written for (and inspired from the epitaph of) Keats. Both poets’ styles are gently adapted here: and actually the metaphorical “paper cut” (in terms of both literary and emotional impressions) which left its mark on my authorial hand applies to both of these writers. Adore them both. I’ve sat in many graveyards reading and generally doing a Morrissey to these beautiful poets. Meet you at the cemetery gates.