Fanny Brawne’s Last Letter, Unopened, Buried with Keats’s Body in the Cimitero Accatolico, Rome

Dayna Patterson


The nightingale has returned,
perched in the mossed cottage trees, he sings

an Ode to you
but you are not here

to hear. Fled is your music, mist-shrouded,
to Italy’s temperance. My Dear Keats,

although doctors warn
against poetry,

a passion too poisonous for your condition, I rather think
it must be antidote, tincture

against death, the impermanence
you’ve feared.

Empty yourself in your capable way,
embracing Beauty’s Truth,

Truth’s Beauty,
so you may heal, till then

I’m your wailful choir
among the river sallows,

your autumnal music
loud-bleating across the leagues.

Over Hampstead Heath
the air is butterflies, song

soft as breath,
but spring’s red petals—

bright drops on the pillow,
I trouble the stains. Wing back to me





Dayna Patterson is the author of Titania in Yellow (Porkbelly Press, 2019) and If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020). Her creative work has appeared recently in AGNI, Passages North, and POETRY, among others. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Psaltery & Lyre and a co-editor of Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry.