Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bright Star

My treat last night was watching Jane Campion's Bright Star, on DVD, with my friend Rowan and her husband, Jim. The film is a gorgeous cinematic homage to the immortal love between poet John Keats and his next-door neighbor, Fanny Brawne. The lovers actually lived in the two sides of a shared house, their bedrooms separated only by a single wall. One of the most passionate scenes in the movie shows both of them moving their single beds up against the shared wall and stroking its surface with their yearning hands. But their love was never consummated: Keats was impoverished and unsuitable as a husband, and he also fell tragically ill, dying of consumption in Rome when he was only 25, as Fanny mourned him half a continent away.

I don't want to die of consumption, and I'm too old now to feel any appeal for a doomed love of my own. But the film did make me think I would like to have the life of a poet as depicted here - days spent gazing into space, occasionally scribbling, reading, sharing my work with friends (but I'd want a different friend from repellent Mr. Brown in the movie), walking through expanses of daffodils or bluebells - and when all of that proved too distracting, going off for a few months of uninterrupted writing to a cottage by the sea. I still wouldn't write a single line as perfect as "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter." But, minus the consumption and the doomed love, it would be fun to try.

1 comment:

  1. I had just listened to Garrison Keillor read love letters from Keats to Fanny when I read your post. I now plan to watch that DVD, too.