Lee Cole, July 2013

Keats on Holiday

The smoke salt air taught me how to breathe,

no more caustic stenches creeping in

under the doorway.

No more steam drains and gutters.

I felt a tumor blooming black on my tongue,

so I went to the ocean, warm depths, depths that speak clearly,

fizzing, splashing, effervescent –

it’s got to be good for something.

Old people retire to the beach and

soak their callouses and spend idle time

building bird houses.

Keats went to Italy to play in the sun

when his handkerchiefs started showing blood and bile.

Old people die, eventually.

So did Keats.


“Take a holiday, relax! You’ll feel better.”

The salt sea is washing up beer bottles

and fat women rub their children with lotions and oils,

while I think of Fanny Brawne

and poor old Severn whispers

soothingly in my ear.


Promote. Poetry.
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