ON A PANEL ON KEATS
A Twisted Poem
Leroy Leonard and Lexanne Leonard

I never eat cheese Danish in the autumn
for fear of melancholy
on my unfinished, frail, failing psyche.

Psyche sat unmoved in the autumn eve.
No dancing leaves past the glass,
The indolent nip of autumn’s breath through the sash.

I never allow the pleasures of my kitchen
to interfere with the colors of the seasons.
For this reason I also avoid
pecans in May,
pretzels in December,
and barbecue flavored Cheetos
in the black hole of January.

Unmoved by the chill,
She anticipates the fire of her Cupid’s passion,
the fire of their passion in the waning season.

I prefer my seasons bland and stand-alone.
I hold the hours of the day responsible
for their own happiness;
and to blame
for their own lack of flavor.

The Grecian urn unmoved by the
melancholic whisp of the autumn breeze
nor by the feathers dusting over it’s shape,
Psyche and her Cupid resigned to
the nightingale’s song closing the day.

If I were to consult a nightingale
on his indolence
or a Grecian urn
on her emptiness,
they would surely refer me to my own
half-empty pantry;
illuminated by the tick-tocking sunlight
that limps through the window
exactly this way, this time every year.

April 9, 2010

Author’s Note:
Leroy and I attended a writing conference this week. A panel on John Keats was supposed to use Keat’s odes to inspire young writers. It was very academic. Although I understand that the professors did have a passion for Keats, they were not expressing that passion with passion. It quickly became apparent that we were in the wrong place. We scooted out the back door and settled into the coffee shop to await our next panel. Being one to make the best of a situation, Leroy challenged me to a writing exercise. He dictated six words based on Keat’s odes: autumn, indolence, nightingale, melancholy, Grecian urn, Psyche. He directed us to write something using three of the words in the first sentence and three in the last. It could take any form – poetry or prose. We wrote for about ten minutes and then shared our work. We were going to hear a “braided” reading later in the day, so we decided to “twist” our words together into a joint piece aptly titled On A Panel On Keats. We were amused by the synchronicity of the “twisting.” Leroy’s words are in the black, mine in purple.

One thought on “

  1. I was amused too! I had no idea that you two didn't write that in tandem. Loved the twisting together…but now I want a cheese danish and there isn't one to be found for miles and miles!

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