In this installment, Joel Brouwer reads “This Living Hand” by John Keats. Brouwer is the author of two books of poems: Exactly What Happened (Purdue University Press, 1999) and Centuries (Four Way Books, 2003). He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation. His poems and essays have appeared in AGNI, Boston Review, Chelsea, Crazyhorse, Massachusetts Review, Paris Review, Parnassus, Ploughshares, Poetry, The Progressive, Southwest Review, and other magazines. He teaches at the University of Alabama.
John Keats, “This Living Hand”
This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou wouldst wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calmed—see here it is—
I hold it towards you.