I’ve blogged about Teignmouth before but am going to do it again. The town is a pretty cool place to live with its natural beauty, seafront with pier, and river beach with painted huts. It has part of Brunel’s atmospheric railway (what was) and the strip of railway line between Teignmouth and Dawlish is supposed to be the most repaired in the country due to winter tides that wash over the seawall where the track runs close. The town still has a working port which largely handles clay and timber. The town retains some Georgian grandeur and fishermen’s cottages, despite what the town planners did back in the day.
And some famous people have connections with the town. Donald Crowhurst set out on his doomed voyage from here. The band members of Muse met at school here. Fanny Burney stayed and wrote her diaries here. But the man I am interested in right now is Keats.
One of the prettier houses in town is known as Keats House. The young poet stayed there in 1818 and completed his epic poem Endymion. Now here I get to the point of this blog. I was listening to a radio programme yesterday which touched on Keats and his theory and practice of negative capability. ‘When man is capable of being in uncertainties. Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.’
Despite being so young, Keats grasped a concept that is nowadays known as Mindfulness and is used by therapists to help their clients to learn to live in the moment. It’s not a new idea. Jesus said in the Bible not to worry as tomorrow has enough worries of its own.
I thought you had to be older to have something to say. But by the age of 26 Keats had lived a life that gave him great insight and wisdom. He had to face separation, grief, loss, a broken heart, his mortality.
I love that he walked the same streets I walk everyday.