Sojourn to Italy

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BobBradshaw
Posts: 2049
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Sojourn to Italy

#1 Post by BobBradshaw » 07 Jan 2022, 22:30

V3:

Sojourn to Italy

The moment Keats coughed up
a ragged star of blood,
he was staring
at his death warrant.

How could he let Fanny,
whom he loved as much as poetry,
travel with him, to nurse him
through infirmed nights?

A painter and a recent friend,
I volunteered to go with John.
Before I could see a Raphael
face to face, or a Botticelli

there was the matter
of the Maria Crowther tossing
about in the waves like a paper boat
sailing into a waterfall.

A Miss Cotterell, another consumptive,
lay in her bunk, feverous,
too exhausted to move.
John said his chest felt as if
it lay under a marble slab.

When the seas turned glassy,
they took to the deck
to dream of Italy’s warmth
together, like sailors
scanning the waves, their hopes birds
flying above the Bay of Naples.

Miss Cotterell’s lively talk
reminded John of Fanny.
He missed her now “more
than England
”.

In Rome he refused to read her letters.
Her handwriting heartbreaking.

As John fumbled through his trunk
Fanny had helped pack,
he found a strand of her hair
and began flinging his clothes
into the air--enveloped
by her scent.

John sighed. What could he do?
He knew his lungs,
twin assassins, were conspiring
to kill him.

Still, for a moment, Fanny
had leaned against him,
their hands like their futures
braided together.




V2:
John Keats, Traveling to Italy

The moment John coughed up
a ragged star of blood,
he knew he was staring
at his death warrant.

How could he let Fanny,
whom he loved as much as poetry,
travel with him, to nurse him
through horrid nights?

A painter and a recent friend,
I volunteered to go with John.
Before I could see a Raphael
face to face or a Botticelli

there was the matter
of the Maria Crowther tossing
about in the waves like a paper boat
sailing into a waterfall.

A Miss Cotterell, another consumptive,
lay in her bunk, feverous,
too exhausted to move.
John said his chest felt as if
it lay under a rock pile.

When the seas turned glassy,
they took to the deck
to dream of Italy’s warmth
together, like sailors
scanning the waves, their hopes birds
flying above the Bay of Naples.

Miss Cotterell’s lively talk
reminded John of Fanny.
He missed her now “more
than England
”.

In Rome he refused to read her letters.
Her handwriting heartbreaking.

As John fumbled through his trunk
Fanny had helped pack,
he found a strand of her hair
and began flinging his clothes
into the air--enveloped
by her scent.

John sighed. What could he do?
He knew his lungs,
twin assassins, were conspiring
to kill him.

Still, for a moment, Fanny
had leaned against him,
their hands like their futures
braided together.




V1:

John Keats, Traveling to Italy

The moment John coughed up
a ragged star of blood,
he knew he was staring
at his death warrant.

How could he let Fanny,
whom he loved as much as poetry,
travel with him, to nurse him
through horrid nights?

So here we were together,
the Maria Crowther tossing
in the waves like a paper boat
sailing into a waterfall.

A Miss Cotterell, another consumptive,
lay in her bunk, feverous,
too exhausted to move.
John said his chest felt as if
it lay under a rock pile.

When the seas turned glassy,
they took to the deck
to dream of Italy’s warmth
together, like sailors
scanning the waves, their hopes birds
flying above the Bay of Naples.

Miss Cotterell’s lively talk
reminded John of Fanny.
He missed her now “more
than England
”.

In Rome he refused to read her letters.
Her handwriting heartbreaking.

As John fumbled through his trunk
Fanny had helped pack,
he found a strand of her hair
and began flinging his clothes
into the air--enveloped
by her scent.

John sighed. What could he do?
He knew his lungs,
twin assassins, were conspiring
to kill him.

Still, for a moment, Fanny
had leaned against him,
their hands like their futures
braided together.



note: an old poem that I've greatly expanded

User avatar
Billy
Posts: 1161
Joined: 22 Jun 2006, 10:56

Re: John Keats, Traveling to Italy

#2 Post by Billy » 13 Jan 2022, 23:37

I could be wrong but it confuses me that Fanny went with anyway.
Maybe bur I'm probably wrong, take or leave, others may say it's fine, otherwise, terrific poem for me:

How could he let Fanny,
whom he loved as much as poetry,
travel with him, to nurse him
through horrid nights?

The Maria Crowther tosses
in the waves like a paper boat
sailing into a waterfall.
A Miss Cotterell, another consumptive—

John and she cabin mates—
lay in her bunk, feverous,
too exhausted to move.
John said his chest felt as if
it lay under a rock pile.

BobBradshaw
Posts: 2049
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: John Keats, Traveling to Italy

#3 Post by BobBradshaw » 14 Jan 2022, 22:30

Thanks, Billy. Fanny did not go with him. Joseph Severn, the painter, accompanied him and nursed him in Rome.

BobBradshaw
Posts: 2049
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: John Keats, Traveling to Italy

#4 Post by BobBradshaw » 15 Jan 2022, 03:30

Let me know, Billy, if V2 works better for you. Bob

Michael (MV)
Posts: 1924
Joined: 18 Apr 2005, 04:57

Re: John Keats, Traveling to Italy

#5 Post by Michael (MV) » 20 Jan 2022, 02:54

Hi Bob,

Lessen the celebrity-hood, by not identifying the icon in the title. Instead, emphasize that there was a man who loved a woman, and the source of his breath - his lungs - had turned on him, and separated him from his true love.

Suggested title: "Sojourn to Italy"

^^ the irony is that "sojourn" is a temporary stay before returning back home; this was not to be for Keats. This irony is also seen in stanza 6

In the 1st stanza, mention the surname there. This reader perceives a subtle allusion to "Bright Star,"
a Keats sonnet https://poets.org/poem/bright-star
and also the title of the 2009 bioflick, which focuses on the "braiding" of John & Fanny, and Keats' last days on earth in Rome. Maybe you have seen this film, before revisiting this poem?

Maybe "he knew he was staring" can be,
he was staring, eliminating a pronoun repetition.

Also below, my workshop suggestion for the 2nd stanza


The moment Keats coughed up
a ragged star of blood,
he was staring
at his death warrant.

Yet John would not let Fanny,
whom loved as much as poetry,
travel with him, to nurse him
through infirmed nights?



BobBradshaw wrote:
07 Jan 2022, 22:30
V2:
John Keats, Traveling to Italy

The moment John coughed up
a ragged star of blood,
he knew he was staring
at his death warrant.

How could he let Fanny,
whom he loved as much as poetry,
travel with him, to nurse him
through horrid nights?

A painter and a recent friend,
I volunteered to go with John.
Before I could see a Raphael
face to face or a Botticelli

there was the matter
of the Maria Crowther tossing
about in the waves like a paper boat
sailing into a waterfall.

A Miss Cotterell, another consumptive,
lay in her bunk, feverous,
too exhausted to move.
John said his chest felt as if
it lay under a rock pile.

When the seas turned glassy,
they took to the deck
to dream of Italy’s warmth
together, like sailors
scanning the waves, their hopes birds
flying above the Bay of Naples.

Miss Cotterell’s lively talk
reminded John of Fanny.
He missed her now “more
than England
”.

In Rome he refused to read her letters.
Her handwriting heartbreaking.

As John fumbled through his trunk
Fanny had helped pack,
he found a strand of her hair
and began flinging his clothes
into the air--enveloped
by her scent.

John sighed. What could he do?
He knew his lungs,
twin assassins, were conspiring
to kill him.

Still, for a moment, Fanny
had leaned against him,
their hands like their futures
braided together.




V1:

John Keats, Traveling to Italy

The moment John coughed up
a ragged star of blood,
he knew he was staring
at his death warrant.

How could he let Fanny,
whom he loved as much as poetry,
travel with him, to nurse him
through horrid nights?

So here we were together,
the Maria Crowther tossing
in the waves like a paper boat
sailing into a waterfall.

A Miss Cotterell, another consumptive,
lay in her bunk, feverous,
too exhausted to move.
John said his chest felt as if
it lay under a rock pile.

When the seas turned glassy,
they took to the deck
to dream of Italy’s warmth
together, like sailors
scanning the waves, their hopes birds
flying above the Bay of Naples.

Miss Cotterell’s lively talk
reminded John of Fanny.
He missed her now “more
than England
”.

In Rome he refused to read her letters.
Her handwriting heartbreaking.

As John fumbled through his trunk
Fanny had helped pack,
he found a strand of her hair
and began flinging his clothes
into the air--enveloped
by her scent.

John sighed. What could he do?
He knew his lungs,
twin assassins, were conspiring
to kill him.

Still, for a moment, Fanny
had leaned against him,
their hands like their futures
braided together.



note: an old poem that I've greatly expanded

BobBradshaw
Posts: 2049
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: John Keats, Traveling to Italy

#6 Post by BobBradshaw » 20 Jan 2022, 07:29

I like your suggestions, Michael! Thanks

Michael (MV)
Posts: 1924
Joined: 18 Apr 2005, 04:57

Re: Sojourn to Italy

#7 Post by Michael (MV) » 22 Jan 2022, 03:36

1/placing some commas:

A painter and a recent friend,
I volunteered to go with John.
Before I could see a Raphael
face to face, or a Botticelli,


2/ why the italicized his chest? - without seems sufficient; it's that overwhelming heavy image tha'st instrumental here - readers know it's Keats' chest.
And, I guess it must be those Elgin Marbles(Art & Mortality) that prompts me to workshop-share in the last line:

A Miss Cotterell, another consumptive,
lay in her bunk, feverous,
too exhausted to move.
John said his chest felt
as if under a marble slab.


3/ streamlining the last image:

When the seas turned glassy,
they took to the deck
to dream of Italy’s warmth
together, like sailors
scanning the waves, their hopes,
birds above the Bay of Naples.


4/ not both quotes & italics - one or the other. Spectral italics are less mechanical. But only one or the other is needed.

Miss Cotterell’s lively talk
reminded John of Fanny.
He missed her now more
than England
.

^^ I like the subtle allusion on home is where the heart is - Yes, he's missing England not only because that's his home, but moreover, because that's were Fanny is.


5/ These 2 lines are right on time as a couplet - yet note the punctuation:

In Rome, he refused to read her letters.
Her handwriting, heartbreaking.


6/ Excellent finale - spectral yet physical - Yes, love really is like that - the heart is not bound


Bob, my revisit & detailing - for your perusal & consideration of course - because I like this poem,
and I hope you will represent the Writer's Block with it this upcoming February IBPC 2022.


8)

Michael (MV)   http://ibpc.webdelsol.com/poems/disrobing-the-ghost



 
 
 

Kenneth2816
Posts: 1445
Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17

Re: Sojourn to Italy

#8 Post by Kenneth2816 » 22 Jan 2022, 18:28

I find either version fine. I did not know this about Keats and as usual, this is your best form of poetry. I still say you should submit the collection of icons as a chapbook

Best line was ragged star of blood. Took me years to learn consumption is the antiquated term for
TB.

BobBradshaw
Posts: 2049
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Sojourn to Italy

#9 Post by BobBradshaw » 22 Jan 2022, 23:03

Thx, Michael. Once again some excellent advice. I love the concrete slab suggestion especially, for a couple reasons. I have merged your ideas into the current version.

Yes, I would love to have this poem represent WB.

BobBradshaw
Posts: 2049
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Sojourn to Italy

#10 Post by BobBradshaw » 23 Jan 2022, 05:47

Thanks, Ken. I have put a collection together but I don’t know what to do with it. Most publishers want you to guarantee a minimum number of sales.

SivakamiVelliangiri
Posts: 5
Joined: 23 Jan 2022, 15:37

Re: Sojourn to Italy

#11 Post by SivakamiVelliangiri » 24 Jan 2022, 09:13

I will definitely benefit from Michael's workshopping. Have been reading it. Hope to write it down,as in a study.

SV

BobBradshaw
Posts: 2049
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Sojourn to Italy

#12 Post by BobBradshaw » 24 Jan 2022, 21:58

I corrected concrete to marble...thx again Michael

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