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.