Guest poem submitted by Mike Christie:
(Poem #910) On the Grasshopper and the Cricket
The poetry of earth is never dead: When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; That is the Grasshopper's -- he takes the lead In summer luxury -- he has never done With his delights; for when tired out with fun He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed. The poetry of earth is ceasing never: On a lone winter evening, when the frost Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever, And seems to one in drowsiness half lost, The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.
It's cricket season here in Texas, and the other day a cricket found its way into our office and started serenading us from a coworker's desk. We eventually tracked him down and released him outside, though the corpses of dozens of his brethren are littering our parking lot, lobby and staircase. Anyway, he reminded me of Keats' sonnet above, which I've liked since I read it decades ago. As I recall, the sonnet was written relatively early in Keats' career, and was the result of a competition with a friend to write a sonnet on a grasshopper. I've never known who the friend was or how his sonnet came out, though I rather suspect Keats won the competition. If anyone can find out I'd love to know. Mike Christie. [Minstrels Links] Other poems by Keats: Poem #12, On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer Poem #182, La Belle Dame Sans Merci Poem #316, Ode to a Nightingale Poem #433, Why did I laugh tonight? No voice will tell Poem #575, To Mrs Reynolds' Cat Poem #696, Last Sonnet Poem #770, A Thing of Beauty is a Joy for Ever Poem #910, On the Grasshopper and the Cricket Poetry competitions seem to have been quite popular with the Romantics; see Poem #22, Ozymandias -- Percy Bysshe Shelley and its companion piece: Poem #285, On a Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below -- Horace Smith