“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of the Imagination.”
― John Keats
One of the most powerful experiences I had while traveling in England last November, was the opportunity to visit Keats House in Hampstead Heath.
His work has always been a powerful inspiration to me, and his brief life and history has forever moved me.
When approaching the house, after a brief walk from the tube station, my friend Dee and I found ourselves in what appeared to be just a beautiful, small residential neighborhood. It was then I realized, this makes sense, because this is what sprang up around the house as time passed. We are all fortunate that people thought to preserve this magical spot. For it was here that John fell in love with Fanny. And it was under a tree in this very yard, that he sat and wrote Ode to a Nightingale.
Upon entering the house, I was touched by the simple beauty and quiet reverence of the place. A tour was about to begin, led by a delightful man who obviously loved Keats as much as those who came to see the house. He led us through the rooms with stories, and made the experience even more pleasurable with his knowledge and enjoyment of his task.
At the end of the tour, he led us into a parlor room that was built after Keats had gone. He then proceeded to recite a couple of his poems.
And I admit, I wept, and without shame.
You see, nothing could have convinced me when I first read Keats over 25 years ago, that I would standing there listening to his words in the very same dwelling where he wrote them nearly 200 years prior.
I felt I had brought the ghost of my younger self to the very source of my passions. I had fulfilled an unspoken promise, and it healed a place inside of me that I may not have known was damaged.
Keats words have always brought me joy. I am so blessed to have been able to visit the place of their source.
For the Love of Keats
In the flicker of a brief moment,
you came into this space
with the gift of words
and the realization of mortality.
You entered the very chambers
of our hearts with the vivid starlight
of your imagination,
with the bitter-sweet poetry
of your tender love,
and with the tragedy
of your brief existence.
Thank you for your life,
for the very breath of your words,
for the beating of your delicate heart.
The beauty you admired
is forever made immortal
by the ink onto your page.
Your memory is eternal.
I find that I cannot exist without poetry—without eternal poetry.
Links to Keats House website and Facebook page: