Category Archives: poetry

When in Rome, Part 3

John Keats died at Rome of a consumption, in his twenty-fourth year, on the [23rd] of [February] 1821; and was buried in the romantic and lonely cemetery of the protestants in that city, under the pyramid which is the tomb of Cestius, and the massy walls and towers, now mouldering and desolate, which formed the circuit of ancient Rome. The cemetery is an open space among the ruins, covered in winter with violets and daisies. It might make one in love with death to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place. Continue reading

When in Rome, Part 1

Pons Fabricius, the Tiber

si fueris Rōmae, Rōmānō vīvitō mōre; si fueris alibī, vīvitō sīcut ibī*
attributed to St Ambrose

Rome doesn’t yield up its secrets easily to first-time short-term travelers, and the work attendant to their discovery can threaten to swamp the rewards. While our desire was to heed St. Ambrose’s dictum, we faced “just a few” significant challenges: we had between us about five words of Italian and next to nil in practical knowledge of the city and its ways. Continue reading

Autumn Falling Over Everything

Today marked the end of season at Innisfree Garden. The weather was uncertain, a bit humid and cloudy, but even so we ventured out. We weren’t the least disappointed except, of course, in the knowledge we’d not get another chance to visit until spring. Continue reading

“Therefore, since we have to do our business/In spite of things, why not make it in spite of everything?”

John Ashbery turned 90 on July 28, 2017. However belated, it’s an occasion to celebrate. Just Walking Around on the internet, I ran across this quotation:

I don’t quite understand about understanding poetry. I experience poems with pleasure: whether I understand them or not I’m not quite sure. I don’t want to read something I already know or which is going to slide down easily: there has to be some crunch, a certain amount of resilience.—John Ashbery Continue reading