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Featured Poem: After Dark Vapours by John Keats

Written by Francesca Dolan, 23rd May 2022

Today’s Featured Poem is 'After Dark Vapours' by John Keats read by The Reader's Teaching and Learning Lead/CJ Group Lead, Kristen.

She explains, "I imagine we might all have our own version of 'dark vapours' or an 'anxious month' here and there, whether it might be actual sickness, or Covid, or some other lowness or trouble. I love the sense of 'the feel of May' here that 'relieves' pain, and the list of 'calmest thoughts' that take us to the end of the poem physically calm me down, every time I read it, especially if I read it aloud, even though the last thought ends with death."

After Dark Vapours

After dark vapors have oppress'd our plains
For a long dreary season, comes a day
Born of the gentle South, and clears away
From the sick heavens all unseemly stains.
The anxious month, relieved of its pains,
Takes as a long-lost right the feel of May;
The eyelids with the passing coolness play
Like rose leaves with the drip of Summer rains.
The calmest thoughts came round us; as of leaves
Budding—fruit ripening in stillness—Autumn suns
Smiling at eve upon the quiet sheaves—
Sweet Sappho's cheek—a smiling infant's breath—
The gradual sand that through an hour-glass runs—
A woodland rivulet—a Poet's death.

John Keats

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