26 January 2012

Attention, Keats fans!

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Therefore, I have composed the following original poem in the style of “Bright Star, Would That I Were Steadfast as Thou Art,” a Shakespearean sonnet written by British romantic poet John Keats as he was dying of tuberculosis in 1819.  "O, Cypress Tree of the Sultana's Court" was inspired by my 1999 visit to the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, and the gardens surrounding this ancient Moorish palace.  In a section of the garden known as the Sultana’s court, there stands a cypress tree, which, according to legend, is nearly 1,000 years old.  You can see a picture of this garden below the poem.

O, cypress tree of the Sultana’s Court,
How much you’ve seen in these past thousand years!
Why must this life of mine remain so short,
So filled with hopeless dreams and mortal fears?
The seasons, years, and ages that have passed
Beneath the cooling shade of your green boughs —
Reflected in the droplets sprinkling fast
Beside the wall which ivy overgrows —
Have seen the lonely tread of aging kings,
And artists whose romantic, pensive strokes
Have mem’rized flower petals and birds’ wings,
And heard forbidden wisps from lovers’ throats.
And tho’ I won’t live half as long as thee,
I pray such fantasy perchance to see.

Angela Infante Blackmer

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