Imagining Keats

in that book-lined Roman house
beside the Spanish Steps
coughing blood begging
for relief

in agony under the weight
of lukewarm and scathing reviews
wanting only to make his mark
before his lungs fail him

in the dark moments
seeking reassurance from a friend
who published him anyway
though sales were dismal

imagining Keats almost two hundred
years after his death
I drink wine by the Pantheon
full of reverence

for Chapman’s Homer
& watch out-of-town buskers
shoot gawdy lit widgets
into the sky

***

Carolyne Van Der Meer is a Montreal-based journalist, public relations professional and university lecturer who has published articles, essays, short stories and poems internationally. She is the author of Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience (WLUP, 2014), Journeywoman (Inanna, 2017) and Heart of Goodness: The Life of Marguerite Bourgeoys in 30 Poems | Du coeur à l’âme : La vie de Marguerite Bourgeoys en 30 poèmes (Guernica Editions, 2020). This book, for which she translated her own poems into French, was awarded second prize in the Poetry Category of the Catholic Media Association’s 2021 Annual Book Awards and was a finalist in the Specialty Books category of The Word Guild’s 2021 annual Word Awards. A full-length poetry collection, Sensorial, was published with Inanna in 2022. 

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