Two hundred years ago this February in Rome Keats died. Aged 25. Tuberculosis. Coughed his lungs out haemorrhaging blood. Slowly suffocating until he breathed his last. He saw it coming doctor, poet … betrothed. Melancholy’s friend. He knew it, almost before he left, parting from Miss Brawne. The climate did not cure him. He could not write, could not endure the separation. There would be no consummation of their love. He knew it, cluthching the Cornelian stone she gave him as a parting gift. Not blood orange Rarer, oval-white … Stone of protection - coolant for the feverish body … and the mind It did not keep you, sweet nightingale, safe from harm, strong in health and body. Maybe, at the last, it helped remove the fear of death; protected you on your journey in the afterlife. All I know is this: though your name was ‘writ on water’, you have endured. Your poems, and your love, immortalised. Nicola Tipton
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