To Keats’ Wayward Girl, Et Alia

Tonight I say farewell to all the girls–
To all the wayward girls I’ve ever known–
To all the girls I’ve ever given pearls,
Good-bye to you, and keep them as your own.
I gave them freely, even if you thought
They came with string attached or some design
To lure you toward the traps you often sought
(If you were trapped, they surely were not mine!)
And most of all, I bid adieu to Fame,
The flirt who barely cast a glance my way.
I’m sure she doesn’t even know my name,
Surrounded by her thoughtless boys all day.
And so, resolved and written here this night,
I’m sure she’ll find my bed by morning’s light.

This sonnet is an allusion to one by John Keats:

On Fame


Fame, like a wayward girl, will still be coy
To those who woo her with too slavish knees,
But makes surrender to some thoughtless boy,
And dotes the more upon a heart at ease.
She is a Gipsey, — will not speak to those
Who have not learnt to be content without her;
A Jilt, whose ear was never whisper’d close,
Who thinks they scandal her who talk about her;
A very Gipsey is she, Nilus-born,
Sister-in-law to jealous Potiphar,
Ye lovesick Bards! repay her scorn for scorn;
Ye Artists lovelorn! madmen that ye are!
Make your best bow to her and bid adieu,
Then, if she likes it, she will follow you.

Leave a Reply