Forever Young

This piece on turning Emily Bronte’s poems into choral pieces led me in an odd direction. You know that obsession some rock fans have with stars who flame out early, especially at twenty-seven? Yeah, lit types have had that forever. And why not? We can only imagine what work brilliant young writers might have created had they lived. Instead, Bronte is always thirty years old, Christopher Marlowe twenty-nine, John Keats a shocking twenty-five, and D. H. Lawrence an antique forty-five. And you know what? Maybe that was as good as they would be. Maybe the year of the five great odes would never be surpassed had Keats lived to ninety. The romance, however, lies in not knowing. It permits us to dream.