One day on my way to the library, I met a boy. The handsome but rather short boy stepped in front of me and smiled. Without any formalities but eye contact, he broke into a performance, and much to the amusement of students who were sitting in the foyer. He was reciting Keats’ Endymion, for me.
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
As a 17-year-old fresher, I stood transfixed with embarrassment and praying for some kind of miracle to save me. After what felt like eternity, he finished reciting, smiled and left. The highly-entertained crowd was still clapping as I, too, continued on my way.
“How did he know Keats was one of my favourites?” Embarrassment turned into excitement, I was flattered by the attention. When I got to the library, I abandoned all intention to study for an exam that was coming up the next day, and instead headed for the poetry section. As I cuddled up with Endymion, I realised he had recited the whole first stanza; 24 lines! I was impressed. And so, ensured the crush on a nameless boy.
note: I’m in a serious poetry writing funk, right now. I’m writing everything else, but poetry. This makes me feel as unsteady as the ocean. So, I share this piece (an excerpt of a longer essay I wrote to answer why I write poetry) as way to remind myself that (for me) poetry is a spontaneous overflow…I can’t force it.