Poem of the Week: When I Have Fears

Thursday Greetings!

I have for you this evening a poem that will make up for the lack thereof in the past few weeks. 

“When I Have Fears” is a poem by John Keats (1795-1821)- an English Romantic poet of the early 19th century. I know that I do not typically do two consecutive poems by the same author, but I could not resist. John Keats has become a favorite of mine. 


When I Have Fears

When I have fears that I may cease to be

   Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,

Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,

   Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;

When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,

   Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,

And think that I may never live to trace

   Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;

And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,

   That I shall never look upon thee more,

Never have relish in the faery power

   Of unreflecting love—then on the shore

Of the wide world I stand alone, and think

Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

-John Keats


I cannot tell you exactly what this poem is saying; rather, I do not wish to. I want you to discover its meaning for yourself. What do these words speak to you?

It is a poem with a soul. One so full of raw honesty and the cry of Keats’ heart. It is a work of beauty. 


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