Saturday, March 19, 2022

A version of a Keats sonnet published on STRIDE today (links and video and context)

‘When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be’ has just been published on Stride. Thanks to Rupert Loydell for publishing this one. It is, fairly obviously I think, a version of one of Keats’ most famous sonnets, though mine begins with the contemporary-sounding ‘When Bo has fears that/ Trump may cease to be //President…’ You may read it here:

 A poem by Robert Sheppard | Stride magazine

 And here is a video of me reading the poem the day it was written, which was 9th November 2020. As I say in my diary for that day: ‘I felt it building. The fifth poem, having to deal with with Trump, still boxed up in The White House, investigating phantom fraud. Done, blogged, etc, during the morning.’

I temporarily blogged the poem on that day (leaving it ,and the video up for about a week). Now it’s out in the open, I can repost the video of the poem that I posted that day (there’s just one difference with the final text).


All that stuff about ‘decompensating’ comes from an interview with Mary Trump about her uncle’s mental and physical lack of well-being. I didn't quite understand it, as you can see from the video.

I recently had another two of these Keats poems in Tears in the Fence. There's a link to that publication, and two more videos here: Pages: Two more sonnets from British Standards (from Keats) in Tears in the Fence 75 (

There are  yet three more Keats versions (and accompanying videos!) online here:

These Keats poems come from a manuscript called ‘British Standards’. It is best described here: where you will find links to other magazine appearances of parts of the book. I transpose sonnets by Wordsworth, Mary Robinson, Shelley and others, as well as Keats. I wrote specifically about the 14 Keats variations here: Pages: Weird Syrup: The final Keats variation: a (premature) farewell to satire as a strand in British Standards (

‘British Standards’ is also book three of a longer project of refunctioning traditional English sonnets, called ‘The English Strain’.

Read about Book One of ‘The English Strain’, The English Strain here .

Book Two, Bad Idea, is talked about here .

You can buy both of these published books so far, here: 
Pages: How to buy The English Strain books one and two together (