Keats in Transit
By Andre Bagoo
He crossed the border seeking warmth. Instead,
everything was wet. A storm struck the
ship like damnation. He saw tide foam round
his ankles, stars hung water-sunk, while the
boat rocked to waves mouthing mantras: I am,
I am, I was. But at dawn, the world was
a dream of clear sea, the sun made rippling
signatures. At his desk, his pen was fluent
as rivers. His words, like sails, sought harbour.
When they reached Naples it was a new masque.
His final costume was hard to shed: real life in
quarantine, the Spanish Steps silent and steep,
as nearby, Roman fountains gurgled eclogues
and tourists completed their idle ablutions.