Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bright Star

I know it's two years old now, but last night I watched Bright Star, and this morning my daughter, who watched it with me, was so inspired (she's a romantic thing) that we've spent a very pleasant morning reading the poetry of Keats, complete with my handwritten college scribbles from the Norton Anthology of Poetry (Third Edition), which has stayed with me for many years and comes out surprisingly often (I love my Kindle but can assign no such sentimental value to the books it contains). The film was lovely, romantic as one would expect, and firmly grounded in and defined by Keats' work.  Normally my poetic tastes tend towards the moderns and post-moderns.  But I've enjoyed re-discovering the romantics today. In honour of the film, and of my daughter's sudden and quite satisfying interest in the poets of the romantic era, I thought I'd provide you with the full text of the poem that gave the film it's name.  By the way, my daughter had me look up Eremite for her, and for those of you who don't know, it's a religious recluse. As usual, Jane Campion, you've outdone yourself.

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art —
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
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 fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death. 

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