Thursday, October 29, 2009

Christopher told me he was going to take me on a mystery date, and then let it slip that it was going to be to an exhibit on the history of the screwdriver. I was all excited about that when lo and behold, the car pulled up in front of a movie theater playing Bright Star.

What a beautiful movie. I predict that Abby Cornish will at least be nominated for Best Actress, that Kerry Fox will be nominated for Best Supporting Actress, and that it will also be nominated in the categories of Screenplay, Cinematography and Costumes. It was a visual feast, and the writing and acting were wonderful. I loved the little pink-cheeked red-head who played Fanny Brawne's younger sister.

There was a naturalness and gentleness to the acting that was heartbreaking. I surprised myself by crying--a lot--as the lover's dreams of happiness slipped away. Keats knew all along, but she was young and naive and stubbornly clung to hope.

My favorite line in the movie was when Keats said, "A poet is the least poetical creature on earth," which is exactly what I think.

When we came home I got on Wikipedia and Google and read up a bit on the real history, which of course was more complicated and probably less pretty than what was portrayed in the movie. Fanny Brawne did marry someone else after Keats' death, and had three children, to whom she bequeathed the love letters he had written her. Keats himself had such a hard and painful life: poverty, abuse, lack of recognition, death of people close to him, illness, poverty, and loss, loss, loss. It's little wonder that he wrote "I have been half in love with easeful death." It must have come as a relief after so much suffering.

And with all that he wrote Ode on a Grecian Urn, and Bright Star and When I have fears that I may cease to be and all the rest of it. An astonishing legacy crammed into just a few years of life.

What is most poignant is that according to his biographers and the movie, he died "thinking himself a failure." If he only knew.

I remember reading La Belle Dame Sans Merci when I was a child--it was one of the poems in the Louis Untermeyer book I loved, the Child's Golden Book of Poetry--and I loved it and responded to its strong rhythms even if I didn't understand it completely.

I was so touched at C's selflessness--deep in his heart of hearts I suspect he may have preferred the history of the screwdriver--but he manfully and graciously made this date about doing what I wanted and we even ate Chinese afterward instead of pub food. So sweet.

And now I'm packing to go teach at Esalen this weekend which should be great fun only I wish i felt better physically. I've got a nagging tickle in the back of my throat which I hope doesn't erupt into anything worse. It will be an intense day Saturday--I'll teach four sessions starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending after 9 p.m.--but hopefully I'll get a chance to just hang in the hot tub with Angela and my other SUN friends. It would be really great if I could somehow squeeze a yoga class or a massage into the weekend, but probably not. probably I'll just try to get to my classes on time and stay hydrated.

Sunday night we are doing a reading in Marin. It will be at 7:30 at the the Mill Valley Community Center, 180 Camino Alto, for anyone reading this who wants to come.

And: shameless self-promotion time. See How We Almost Fly can be ordered from


Anonymous said...

is the word you use
for your 'C'
and his honor to you

and we shall say
you are "blessed"

Vicky said...

Alison, my dear, a lovely entry - Mark and I went to see the movie on my birthday, and how I cried. I suspect Mark may be a bit soppier than "C," because he cried too.

Thank you for a great workshop at Esalen - you made me hope that maybe I can write poetry just a little bit after all. And just seeing your smiling face and spending some time with you was a delight. With love and hugs