Bitter, harsh, cruel, and yet, finally terribly terribly shockingly abject, desperate, I guess I would call it. It is funny, that is, tragically funny, as in Cioran's THE TROUBLE WITH BEING BORN attitude; and so when mortals wish to imagine having the last word we are such needful and tenderly woe-filled people. In Keats' poem the word "living" is such a wishful plea. And who can forget that poor sweet Keats was a poet, in love, and dying just as he was growing into his life. Ahhhhh. Awful. One can really understand all the great comedians and tragedians arguments with the gods. One can so readily agree with those who find humor something frighteningly deadly accurate and devastating. By which I mean, understand why so many artists (and philosophers certainly) wrestle with why god permits evil for one thing, or for another, who made up the way we are anyway. Short poems lend a seconds' acknowledgement of our predicaments. They can be sniper-like in their direct action. I like that they aren't working up to anything. I like that they employ no regimens of preparing the ground, or building up of logic or anecdote or image or sonic effects, they pretty much forego consolation and fearlessly approach archly flung truth. They lean hard on the notion of condensed (intensely so) remark.

I was talking with my daughter, Emily Pettit, the other day about the category we find so attractive in poems, that category being: things that can happen only in poems, or really, only in the imagination. As in Keats' "if"----what a word.
If we didn't have the potential to imagine what is imaginable (or we should say, unimaginable) we would be a sorry bunch.

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 would 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.