THE SPANISH STEPS, ROME
i.m. John Keats 1795 – 1821
The afternoon ends,
an open bedroom window
looks down at razor-dressed Italians,
guide book tourists,
a stall ablaze with flowers.
The boat-shaped fountain by Pietro Bernini,
aground near the Spanish Steps
is broken and boarded.
The calm insides of No.26
Piazza di Spagna retain
books of poetry, portraits,
life and death masks,
a letter from a President,
the brief note signed by Thomas Hardy,
each the formal remains of another age
The fireplace is like ice
in these repaired rooms
where the furniture was taken and burnt,
the walls scraped.
I stand in a small space
where death entered at eleven o’clock,
then leave by the staircase
he painfully climbed.
A life lived for poetry echoes and says
“that which is creative must create itself.”
Embraced in a lustre of sarongs
the Balinese girls balance on their heads
the delicate geometry of gifts;
carefully blending into a complexion of flavour,
refreshing taste like sorbet,
skilfully they bear to the temple
the elegant sum of frangipani,
mangosteen, dyed rice cakes,
high offerings on a foundation
draped with lace.
Byron Beynon lives in Swansea, Wales. His work has appeared in several publications including The Blue Hour, Poetry Wales, London Magazine and Poetry Ireland. Collections include Cuffs (Rack Press), Human Shores (Lapwing Publications) and The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions). Recent work included in the anthology “In Protest” (University of London and Keats House Poets)