Johnny Keats and the Footloose Cavaliers

John E Marks
1 min readNov 28, 2020
Photo by Dominik Bednarz on Unsplash

Melancholy’s lack of zest
is written all over the palimpsest
of a young medical doctor-poet
who died at twenty-five and will, to some,
hardly seem to have been alive at all

But look at his writing
Johnny Keats and the footloose Cavaliers
lived for poetry, music, kisses, tears
eschewing self-pity or suicide
they tried their best to stay alive..

No crossing of the river Lethe
no seeking out of empty-headed
oblivion..They preferred to breathe
Freely. Not measure out life in years
But rise to the attainment of that rarest
Orchid flower, love: what will survive of us.

To devote time to love and friendship
to all the passingness of life. Johnny
Keats, the poet-physician, balanced
his surface understanding of anatomy
with the hidden mysteries of the body
and soul. Alchemical intuitions borne
out by quantum physics: time is such
a slippery beast: for Johnny Keats
and the Footloose Cavaliers.



John E Marks

I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can