Chance Promise

Todd Osborne
University of Southern Mississippi

Re: Keats’s 31 December 1817 letter to Benjamin Robert Haydon

So difficult, making engagements,
arranging things just so—the universe
tends toward dissolution in all things,

even plans made with friends. If
thoughtlessly is a word that can be applied
here, so is unerringly. Who can stop

the world from its course? There are stars
and sun—which one can be out in all day—
there are words to be said, meetings

missed and made, and yet even so
there are chance encounters, a walk
on a heath, intentional or not, can

become a conversation with a friend,
can become an all-day affair, or merely
something to be mentioned at the end

of a missive. A tossed-off fact about
the days that have passed. A way
to excuse one’s behavior, an apology.

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