The Spanish Steps, Rome

i.m. John Keats 1795–1821

The afternoon ends,
an open bedroom window
looks down at razor-dressed Italians,
guide book tourists,
a stall ablaze with flowers.
The boat-shaped fountain by Pietro Bernini,
aground near the Spanish Steps,
is broken and boarded.
The calm insides of No.26
Piazza di Spagna retain
books of poetry, portraits,
life and death masks,
a letter from a President,
the brief note signed by Thomas Hardy,
each the formal remains of another age
on display.
The fireplace is like ice
in these repaired rooms
where the furniture was taken and burnt,
the walls scraped.
I stand in a small space
where death entered at eleven o’clock,
then leave by the staircase
he painfully climbed.
A life lived for poetry echoes and says
“that which is creative must create itself.”

Byron Beynon’s work has appeared in several publications including Eunoia Review, The London Magazine, Militant Thistles, The Interpreter’s House and San Pedro River Review.  Recent collections include Human Shores (Lapwing Publications, Belfast) and The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions).

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