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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.

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