Weekly Poem: This living hand, now warm and capable

a sunny summer evening of a hill with some houses and the ocean in the background, the words "WEEKLY POEM" are in the centre of the image in all caps

This living hand, now warm and capable
By John Keats

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d–see here it is–
I hold it towards you.

We celebrate Halloween on October 31, or we would if it weren’t for this pesky pandemic. Keats’ poem is eerie enough on its own but grasping someone’s warm hand in the year 2020? I cannot think of anything scarier.
I chose this poem because it talks about a hypothetical situation: if it were cold, then it would haunt your days and make you wish you were dead – but it is in fact warm. Everything is fine. This poem reminds us that we are alive and well but to keep in mind that life ultimately ends in death. It is typical of the concept memento mori (‘remember that you have to die’).  And considering Halloween is all about spooky things, why not think about the ultimate spooky thing?
You will one day have ice-cold hands.