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Amber Paulen


Woe to the return, to the two-way ticket, to coming back. Whatever there is inside me, feels most content to go go go so that stopping seems another way of pronouncing status quo. I want change more than static and I want my life to be the representation of that.

Yet, it’s not as if my life is changeless for this performance of a simple return after only a two month trip. Much remains unknown: I still don’t know where we’re going to live and for how long? What’s next? Rome, I guess. This scent-laden spring balm causes surge to fresh pressed memories of calm Bracciano. I am fine to let them lie there, Rome will be the next someplace else.

Estate a Roma! What am I doing complaining? With its crumbling tourist traps, the high-life, a city! All we’re missing is the apartment.

Friday was cool and rainy so I caught a train to Valle Aurelia and a metro to Flaminia, to the Keats-Shelley house. The woman who worked there was a nerd ten-fold, but who else can be expected to sit watchful over books and one death bed. What little I did not know about Romantic Poets has now been fostered. It’s rather ridiculous of me to have not even thought to visit before; to those four book bound rooms dedicated to dead writers and their mahogany forever stillness. Over looking Piazza di Spagna did the dying poet suffer his last days with tuberculosis. The tragic John Keats has caught my imagination. Let me be pleasantly reprimanded:

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
— John Keats, To Autumn

During my sojourn in Rome, I will be sure to collect my lessons in places I have not yet thought of.


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