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Capsizing Prospects

by Sultana Raza

Warnings of gulls, swept off to never land,
Wavelets of watch stole, blurred his lines.
Words sought to spring free of lyrical hand.
Washed by ignominy would be his signs.

Though bitter ferns, crooned in tunes grave,
By thrilling tides, his gloom got nearly cured;
Singing head of Orpheus, no nymphs to save.
To Pays des Mortes, shrewd sirens lured.

Seething with impatience, did stanzas slyly scheme?
Merciful Lethe, couldn’t find, drink from.
Haunted by the spectre of his fame up in flames,

Rhymes of remorse, in liquid quartz gleam.
Unanswered questions, head full of storm,
Was he just a pawn in carousel’s chancy games?


[Author’s note] On John Keats’s voyage to Rome, his ship encountered some violent storms. His ship might have capsized and sunk, and his poetic prospects were in danger of drowning, too. He didn’t know if he’d ever return from the Eternal City. He was justifiably bitter at not being given more time to write his poems.

Copyright © 2017 by Sultana Raza

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