Slight change in posting today to mark what was possibly the first real ‘poetry walk’ in Teignmouth. The weather was right, the tide was right and poetry was in the air. The walk linked together places in Teignmouth associated with Keats. Follow the links to see the poems.
We started from the Pier and headed for the Point “along the flat brown sand” for the first poetry reading – ‘Epistle to John Reynolds’; and Charles Causley’s tribute to “the crystal poet leaning on the old sea-rail” – ‘Keats at Teignmouth – Spring 1818’, coming soon in a future post.
From the Point the walk continued to the purported site of Keats House.
It was here that Wilfred Owen came in 1911 in a pilgrimage to the house where his hero had once lived. He apparently stood transfixed outside the house, the bewildered occupants peering at him through the window.
The pilgrimage inspired him to write his ‘Sonnet to Keats’, our second reading.
From Keats House it’s a short walk to the New Quay Inn, our third reading spot, which carries on its wall the first five verses of what Keats described as a piece of doggerel, just known as ‘Ode to Teignmouth’.
It’s an interesting poem because Keats supposedly constantly complained about his stay in Teignmouth, particularly because of the foul weather during his stay and yet the poem seems to convey a different picture, especially when the missing last two verses are included.
That piece of doggerel describes places along the Teign following a walk that Keats could himself have taken.
So, the tide being right, we followed the Estuary as far as the tunnel exit up to Salcombe dip. At the viewpoint there is an art interpretation board containing verses from ‘Endymion’ which are attributed to the river Teign.
It was a good place too to complete this poetry walk with a reading of quite a saucy piece by Keats – ‘Where Be Ye Going, You Devon Maid’.
A very successful poetry walk, bringing poetry to the community and relevance to the poetry. There may be more to come.