Off Season

Deborah Harvey’s previous poem reminds us that Keats had contracted TB from which he died only a few year after his brother Tom who had come to Teignmouth in the hope that the air would cure his own TB.

Junkets on a Sad Planet

Junkets on a Sad Planet

Today’s post is the first of two from Tom Clark’s work ‘Junkets on a Sad Planet: Scenes from the Life of John Keats’ which cover Keats’ stay in Teignmouth. This poem, ‘Off Season’, reflects on his brother Tom’s condition and Keats’ dark mood.

Off Season
(Tom Clark)

O Devonshire, you dwindle my moon in
Heaven, and drown me in my rainy lunes
My intellect degenerates apace
Tom looks pale and has a cough that causes
Blood to engorge his vocal chords
Stifling his voice like the kiss of a Medusa
His face turns blue, his eyes roll back in his head
Then in a moment he is himself again
But I am not, my blue devils coming on
To tease sleep out of my anxious mind,
Make eyelids ache into my fretted pillow,
By day I prowl the flat brown sand alone
Picking dully among the slick green rocks
At the foam troubled fringe of silver
Breakers that pound in from the dark sea with
Shocks that are a metronome of my mood,
If under that wide water now I would
Scarcely kick to come up to the top

Want to know more?  Check out:

Tom Clark …..
Junkets on a Sad Planet …..

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