In the Death Mask of John Keats

The Keats-Shelley House, Rome

Piazza di Spagna, 26, 00187 Roma RM, Italy


In the death mask of John Keats

there appears a resigned peace,

as if poetry had finally let him rest,

his last poem whispered in his last breath.


Now I stand in his room beside the Spanish steps,

looking out at life from his room of death,

watching tourists walk by without a thought

that once, here, lay John Keats, poet.


And I consider the fate of a nameless grave,

or worse, a life of wasted days,

but what a beautiful death if you can say

you did what you needed to do,

and said what you needed to say.