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Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in TESOL. He is now writing a dissertation on the sonnets of E. A. Robinson at LMU München, where he tutors composition alongside editing flyers on poetry and style. He teaches English at Münchner Volkshochschule and leads the Amerikahaus Literaturkreis. He is also the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured.

20161013

On Seeing the Elgin Marbles

by John Keats

My spirit is too weak—mortality 
   Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep, 
   And each imagined pinnacle and steep 
Of godlike hardship tells me I must die 
Like a sick eagle looking at the sky. 
   Yet ’tis a gentle luxury to weep 
   That I have not the cloudy winds to keep 
Fresh for the opening of the morning’s eye. 
Such dim-conceived glories of the brain 
   Bring round the heart an undescribable feud; 
So do these wonders a most dizzy pain, 
   That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude 
Wasting of old time—with a billowy main— 
   A sun—a shadow of a magnitude. 

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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