I waIn November 2012 I was invited to design and deliver six poetry workshops at both the Keates Shelley House in Rome and the British Council in Rome. Different workshops were facilitated for children, teenagers and adults with different levels of English language on a variety of themes which included ghost stories, haloween parties (!), personifying the city of Rome, childhood memories and lost property. In June 2012 I also delivered a one hour performance of my poetry at the Keats Shelley Memorial Museum and was commissioned to write three poems and a short article for the Keats Shelley Review.
When Keats was leaving Rome
Cruel to surround you with ruins that fed you
knowing that you could not eat;
only watch through the curtain crease
as the Spanish Steps steepened each evening
when all the eyes came out to dance,
fall into quartets, and disappear still twisted
You would watch till their lightness couldn’t lift
your sinking bed, moored here at the city port,where wheels are tides washing in the hungry,
whilst venders shout out their urgent roses
like sirens whirling beams to wanderers
wading through this artery into Rome,
where ghosts still brawl in Coliseum arches
for foreign shoals fanning awe through heat,
before pinning the city to their lapels.
All you would ever have were tales
and now in breathing, singing, sweating Rome
they were close enough to slip in through your window
bringing the dust of pillars
to your cool blooded sleep,
here in the shade of white flowers
painted on your ceiling and raining
enough oblivion to blur you away.
So without leaving any of your small rooms
you had “travell’d in the realms of gold”
to take missing limbs from gods
so your words could move in their shadows
dressed in new accents, bearing bright robes,
and the shards that you gathered were more whole
than any fanfare for an emperors’ hoard
being steadily plucked out of the past
to glut parlours and flirt new walls
that were growing up to frame their fathers.
This city of ruins posed like the promise of songs
you’d never fully hear, ruins so stubbornly eternal
whilst you were leaving Rome.