In which Tilly and I explain Keats

Tilly is studying Keats’ poetry for A levels.

At dinner she was talking about how they had made a start on The Eve of St. Agnes and how she was warming to Keats after being utterly unimpressed by La Belle Dame Sans Merci.

She said:

‘I think some of his language is really rather beautiful, even though the poem is a bit weird and stalkerish and has oddly disturbing sex in it.’

I refrained from mentioning the lesson we once did where our teacher showed a remarkable knowledge of fruit based sexual innuendos, which has meant I have never looked at either Keats, or greengrocers in the same way since.

I just nodded, sagely and said:

‘Yes. I like the bit where he talks about the beadsman’s breath going up to heaven like…’

Tilly – wafting her hands about: ‘…smoke and prayers and…stuff…and…’

Me: ‘Thingy. Yes. That.’

Tilly: ‘I really like the bit where he talks about her eyelids being like…like…’

Me: ‘Canoes?’

Tilly: ‘Yes. That’s right.’

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