Keats is one of the Great Nuannaarpoqians. He grew up with sorrow, first nursing his mother through tuberculosis and, a few years later, his younger brother, before then succumbing himself. These and other travails did nothing to curb his capacity to grasp moments of joy when he found them.

He learned early and painfully not to count on happiness, only to find it in a thousand passing instances, such as a setting sun or a sparrow pecking about in the gravel outside his window.

A humbling degree of resilience and fortitude.

‘I scarcely remember counting upon any Happiness – I look not for it if it be not in the present hour – nothing startles me beyond the Moment. The setting sun will always set me to rights – or if a Sparrow come before my Window I take part in its existence and pick about the Gravel.’


Source: John Keats, 22 November 1817, Selected Letters, ed. Robert Gittings (Oxford World Classics, 2002/2009), p. 37

Photo credit: Benoit Gauzere at




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