Keats in Rome, by Bob Bradshaw
Keats in Rome
Our landlord has reported us to the Police.
With Keats' death, strangers will burst
through the door, scrape down walls, haul bedding
and anything we have touched away.
Rome's fear of consumption
is as thick as the humidity.
Keats has not slept for over a week,
barely breathing like a bank of ash.
I’m nearly as exhausted.
When he does nap, I sweep, do chores,
shop for groceries...
Mostly I read all day and night
to the poor soul.
How can I talk of recovery
when he coughs up
cups of blood?
Unhinged, he feels his heart
like a boat banging
against its dock in a storm.
He longs for England.
Yet he barely survived the trip here.
Whenever I can I search
Rome for a cemetery. Mercifully,
he has finally fallen asleep,
but when he wakes, his thoughts
will again drift in and out
of despair, his heart
Bob Bradshaw is recently retired, and living in California. He is a big fan of the Rolling Stones. Mick may not be gathering moss, but Bob is. Bob's work can be found in many publications on the net, including Apple Valley Review, Eclectica, Loch Raven Review, Peacock Journal and Pedestal Magazine, among others.
3/5/2019 06:33:13 pm
Wonderfully, poignantly written. You put me in the sick room feeling both the misery of Keats and worry of the caretaker. "Unmoored" echoed his epitaph as "one whose name was writ in water." The sadness is bearable only because we know his work lives on.
Rose Mary Boehm
3/6/2019 01:37:45 pm
I am in Rome with you, looking after the young poet. The POV is original, the rendering moving. Congratulations on a memorable poem that moved me enough to leave a comment. Thank you.
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