Bright Star

Bright Star would I were stedfast as thou art –
Not in lone splendor hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters as their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen masque
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors.
No – yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft swell and fall,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever – or else swoon to death.

~ John Keats

I just finished watching the movie Bright Star, about the love affair between John Keats and Fannie Brawne. Keats was a Romantic Poet who died in 1821 of tuberculosis. He was only 25 years old.

Directed by Jane Campion, this movie is visual poetry. Every scene is so beautiful, in a quiet, natural way. The exterior scenes display the simple beauty of nature in all four seasons. The interior scenes shows simple yet elegant furnishings. In one scene, Fanny is sitting on her bed with a white, gauzy curtain from the nearby window blowing towards her face. She lies back and lets the curtain waft over her. The actors who play Fannie and Keats give stunning performances, portraying the restrained, yet passionate love affair. I couldn’t help but weep when Keats dies in the end – even though I knew the story, know what would happen.

* Vintage Classics has published a movie tie-in book, Bright Star: The Complete Poems and Selected Letters of John Keats.


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