Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 399

John Keats


Hello Everyone



As you know, Henry has a great love of poetry. 


Sometimes he sits in the little courtyard garden at the back of his house and reads poem books.


Sometimes he even likes to try and write his own poems.


He loves poems about nature best.


Do you remember he learnt a William Wordsworth poem to recite called Ode to a Butterfly?


William Wordsworth famously wrote about the Lake District.


You may know the famous lines about a host of golden daffodils blooming there in the springtime.


Another poet that Henry likes is John Keats.


He was a man that dedicated most of his life to his writing because he was so drawn to it.


John Keats was born in Moorfield in London on 31st October in 1795, the eldest of four children.


His father, an innkeeper, managed a stable of horses.  He was killed when he was trampled by a horse during a riding accident. 


John was only eight years old. 


Family life was about to change drastically.


His mother remarried very quickly but the new marriage did not go well and eventually fell apart.  His mother had also lost a lot of the family’s money and consequently left her children with her widowed mother in Edmonton in Middlesex, north of London, for a while.


John was very close to his sister Fanny and his two brothers George and Tom.


But the sense of loss that John felt during this time would later influence his poetry.


John’s mother eventually returned but was not in good health and died in 1810 of a very serious condition of the lungs called tuberculosis.  John was now 14.


John went to the local school in Enfield where at first he was more interested in following athletic pursuits like boxing and playing cricket rather than studying.


As he grew older, from 1809, he became interested in poetry and Greek mythology.


He was taken under the wing of the headmaster John Clarke who acted as a sort of father-figure to the orphaned John and encouraged his love of reading.  John found huge comfort in literature.


After leaving school, John was apprenticed to a surgeon neighbour of his grandparents.


Later, he broke off his apprenticeship and went to live in London where he began medical training in Guy’s Hospital and St Thomas’ Hospital.  He obtained a licence to become an apothecary (person who makes up medicines) but became more interested in writing poetry. 


Keats gave up his life in medicine to become a full-time writer.


He became friends with other poets like Shelley and Wordsworth and had his first book of poems published in 1817.


The book did not sell very well and did not meet with critical acclaim either.


Keats was very upset that the poetry critics of the day did not like his work.  Some reviews were quiet cruel.  They thought his poetry was too daring. 


Today we might call it new, modern, cutting-edge.


Keats loved to go on walking tours because of his strong love of nature but after a long and arduous tour in Scotland and the Lake District, in the north of England, with his friend Charles Brown in the summer of 1818, he fell ill with a bad throat infection that he was never able to get rid of.


He returned to nurse his younger brother Tom who had fallen ill with tuberculosis. 


After Tom died that autumn, Keats stopped writing for a while.


His brother George had moved to America and so with his two brothers out of his life, John moved into Charles Brown’s house in Hampstead at the end of 1818.


Around this time he met and fell in love with a neighbour called Fanny Brawne, but their relationship was not always a harmonious (good) one.


From the autumn of 1819, Keats was not making much money from his writing, and his financial problems meant although he had got engaged to Fanny, he could not marry her.


His health was also beginning to fade.


ln 1818 and 1819, he wrote an enormous number of poems including some of his most famous ones.


He became ill with tuberculosis in early 1820.


lt was in this year he wrote one of his most famous and well-loved poems, and Henry’s favourite, To Autumn.


The poem talks about autumn as though it were a beautiful woman. 


This is called a personification.


lt means (in your imagination) giving a thing the qualities and characteristics of a person.  ln the case of this poem, autumn.


Doctors advised Keats that his best course of action was to leave the cold and damp climate of England and go to live in a country where the weather was warmer and sunnier.


His romance with Fanny was over, and in September of 1820 he sailed for ltaly with his friend, the painter Joseph Severn.


But it was all too late.


Keats was not able to save his health and he died in Rome in February 1821 at only 25 years old.


John Keats wrote his greatest work over a period of about six years, and although is thought to be one of our greatest poets today, was slammed by critics during his lifetime.


Although the poems brought him fame from the latter part of the 19th century, they did not bring him huge fame or riches in his own lifetime.


ln his very short life, he produced some of the greatest poems in the English language, and school children today will study them in their lessons.



lf you like my blog, please support it by telling all your friends and followers about it.


Thank you!


And see you again next Fun Friday!


Love and kisses



Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bill:  Where do poets find their source of inspiration?


Bob:  l don’t know.


Bill:  Growing on poetrees!



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

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Picture Gallery


John Keats


Lake District




Ode to Autumn


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
        Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless
        With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
    To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
        And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
          To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
        With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
    And still more, later flowers for the bees,
  Until they think warm days will never cease,
          For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.





  Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
      Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
  Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
      Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
  Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
      Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
          Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
  And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
      Steady thy laden head across a brook;
      Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
          Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.



  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.









This week, Auntie Alice found a flower pot left in amongst a pile of seed trays. 

It had been overlooked when she had tidied up a few weeks before.

The children had been eating some fruit and put the pips in a pot of compost.

And some of them had sprouted and grown.  They looked like orange pips.

The leaves started growing as very pretty heart shapes but then as the plant grew the leaves higher up became longer and more pointed.

We shall see what happens later.



And they kept growing…

We shall see what happens later.



After she had cleared up the greenhouse, Auntie Alice went off into town.

She had something important to do.

A few weeks ago, her friend Betty Clutterbuck had had an accident and Auntie Alice stepped in to help her and ran the shop while Betty was recovering.

Then Auntie Alice had an idea that could help Betty out with her business and Betty thought it was a wonderful idea.

Auntie Alice thought that if Betty started a knitting club in her tearooms once the tourist season was over she could get more customers in.

The club had started in September but a lot of the members were struggling a bit with their knitting.

Some people wanted to join, but they couldn’t knit!

Betty really needed a knitting teacher.

So Auntie Alice was going to step in.

We don’t know whether the knitting club will grow and be a success.

We shall see what happens later.  

Knitting really became popular in lockdown because it is soothing – and once you learn, it becomes very addictive!









Quick Quiz


Collocations are natural word partners in language.


Can you complete these collocations?


  1. ebb and f
  2. to and f
  3. back and f
  4. backwards and f
  5. push and p
  6. day and n
  7. chalk and c
  8. port and s
  9. up and d
  10. salt and p
  11. knife and f
  12. shoes and s
  13. hook and e
  14. moon and s
  15. rant and r
  16. light and s
  17. bat and b
  18. stop and g
  19. before and a
  20. rain or s






lt’s the Weekend!




Does you teacher get annoyed when you are clattering about in your pencil case looking for your rubber or pencil sharpener?

All your pencils and felt tips are making a noise and she is trying to talk – but you need to find just one small thing that has slipped down to the bottom of the bag yet again.

Make this soft, little bag to put inside your pencil case and you will be able to find the tiniest of items in no time at all.

You can fit a bottle of correcting fluid, rubber and sharpener into it or perhaps you would prefer to use it to carry around USB sticks or flash drives.

If you need two, then knit them in different colours so that you will know which is which in an instant.



Using 4mm knitting needles and pale blue dk yarn cast on 20 stitches

Knit 4 rows of garter stitch


Slip 1 (knit 1, purl 1) repeat the last 2 stitches to the last stitch, knit 1

Repeat the last row 4 times


Slip 1 (purl 1, knit 1) repeat the last 2 stitches to the last stitch, purl 1

Repeat the last row 4 times


Slip 1 (knit 1, purl 1) repeat the last 2 stitches to the last stitch, knit 1

Repeat the last row 4 times


Knit 10 rows of stocking stitch


Knit 4 rows of garter stitch

Cast off



  1. Sew along the bottom seam using over-sew stitching with wrong sides together
  2. Sew along the side seams using over-sew stitching with right sides together
  3. Crochet 50 chains into a length of yarn and thread into the channel between to garter stitch rows at the top



Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand



Quick Quiz Answers


  1. ebb and flow
  2. to and fro
  3. back and forth
  4. backwards and forwards
  5. push and pull
  6. day and night
  7. chalk and cheese
  8. port and starboard
  9. up and down
  10. salt and pepper
  11. knife and fork
  12. shoes and socks
  13. hook and eye
  14. moon and stars
  15. rant and rave
  16. light and shadow
  17. bat and ball
  18. stop and go
  19. before and after
  20. rain or shine



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