On Blushing


I knew a girl who blushed and everything – compliments, kissing, winning and losing, laughing at a joke. She had a determined blush and bashful blush. She stayed flushed after a workout. Her blush could mean anything and everything but how to tell what? And like anything ever-present, it meant little. And like anything ever-present, it meant a lot.

Poetry gives us the best answers for the mundane and the all-important. This Keats poem is both of those things. I was delighted last night to find it in an anthology. He's so serious most of the time and I like him better for having read it.

Sharing Eve's Apple - John Keats

O blush not so! O blush not so! 
Or I shall think you knowing; 
And if you smile the blushing while, 
Then maidenheads are going. 

There's a blush for want, and a blush for shan't, 
And a blush for having done it; 
There's a blush for thought, and a blush for nought, 
And a blush for just begun it. 

O sigh not so! O sigh not so! 
For it sounds of Eve's sweet pippin; 
By these loosen'd lips you have tasted the pips 
And fought in an amorous nipping. 

Will you play once more at nice-cut-core, 
For it only will last our youth out, 
And we have the prime of the kissing time, 
We have not one sweet tooth out. 

There's a sigh for aye, and a sigh for nay, 
And a sigh for "I can't bear it!" 
O what can be done, shall we stay or run? 
O cut the sweet apple and share it!


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