A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever


Her heart was beating fast as she swiped the card. It was a considerable amount. The dark-blue velvet box was being wrapped in carefully with silver gift paper. The movement of her fingers was flexible and gentle. The woman in the jewellery shop knew how to treat items of this kind.

Inside the velvet bos lay the classic Montblanc ballpoint pen. A birthday present. His first present from her. She was overwhelmed by the thoughts. Still two months to go. Would she manage to not reveal the excitement and tenderness flowing within her?


It was a nice two months packed with a deep thought that could not be shared. No she never intended to share it, it was hers. Her possession. Her faint smile and sudden quietness might give you a clue. She was in a dreamy world.


It was cold in February, the snow thick and heavy. The town seemed drowned in the darkness. The atmosphere in the cafe, however, was warm and cosy. She loved the contrast. She always did. It might be the only thing she loved about the winter months.
This extraordinary contrast of cold and darkness she felt in the streets and the warmth and cosiness she found in the cafes.
Her right hand lifted the cup, the soft light was glowing on her face. She breathed in the fresh fragrance. With her heart pounding, she seeped the coffee slowly. Her left hand rested on her lap. Within it was the box covered with the silver gift paper.
“Yours.” she said while pushing the box slowly towards him.
He lifted his head and looked at her. She sensed the surprise in his eyes. She sensed the faint smile and traces of tenderness. She sensed all this just in time before his expression turned back to its normal state, again he looked calm and composed.
He torn off the silver paper carefully and read the words on the cover. He did not open it but said:” it must have cost a fortune”.
She turned her head to meet his eyes, and said quietly: “you are a teacher, and I think most teachers will have the need of a good pen.”
Again she traced the tenderness in his eyes. Warm and soft.
“Try it, see if you like it”.
He lifted up the pen carefully from the box, and moved it towards the candle. He gazed at it for a second and wrote a few words on her notebook.
It read “ A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever”.
Not until she became a Literature student did she realise that it was the opening line of “Endymion”, a poem by the English Romantic poet John Keats.
Years past. Has it remained a joy to him, or has it turned to a sigh? She wonders. A subtle remark of the passing of time, just that. A faint smile appears on her face. It is a scene that belongs to the past, just that.
Pictures taken in Xia Meng (China), Fredrikstad (Norway) and Stockholm (Sweden) 2017-2018.

Author: Isabelle

Content writer / editor & Language advisor

38 thoughts on “A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever”

  1. Another ethereal post, Isabelle. You give enough information for me to care about the characters and understand the important parts of the relationship, and withhold enough information from me that the story is mysterious without frustrating the reader. The fourth picture looks like a painting; is it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the thoughtful words Abigail. You have such a sophisticated way of writing, always insightful. I am glad that I managed that, giving and withholding enough information. Yes that fourth picture was a painting hanging on a wall which I came across during my morning jog in Xia Meng (厦门) a couple of weeks ago. I loved it. It gives me a feeling of life in Paris or somewhere in Italy. Very European oriented. Again, thank you Abigail. Take care.


  2. Lovely, Isabelle.

    Speaking of cafes, my wife and I went to one two days ago to see a singer-songwriter named David Olney. If you have a few minutes, check out his music online. I think you might like his songs.

    Till next time–

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Neil. I have checked out the songs of David Olney, the soulful “Roses” and the charming energetic “Train Wreck”. Lovely. He reminds me of my favourite country singer Alan Jackson though they are into different music genres. Folk v.s Country. Will check out more.

      Take care,


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Quite wonderful Isabelle 🌷 I can see his hand holding the sweetly chosen gift and reaching across to write such treasured words and later to find them even more so. I can imagine her butterflies each time she saw the box in all that time of waiting and hoping. There’s a hint of soft edges that leave out all the rest and bringing one back always to the giving. Isabelle you’ve written such a lovely moment from a tender heart. I’m captured by your dreamy place and the wondering of what if… what now… lovely❤️ Take care 😊❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the beautiful words Suzanne. ❤️ It means a lot to someone who’s so uncertain about her writing at times. It was supposed to be presented as a good moment in life, a marvellous one. I’m delighted that it was perceived in the way as how it was intended. It’s rather short, the story. But for a moment, it’s enough. Take care Suzanne 😊❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This piece is just the right length and you conveyed the sweetness of it so beautifully. Oh Isabelle, I do understand that feeling of being uncertain of ones writing. I can second guess myself something awful. You should rest in yours though. I don’t think you fully realize what a lovely way you have with stories and images. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. Take care 😊❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Gosh, Isabelle!!! This is so very sweet and beautiful. And the wonderful pictures….so quiet…and the painting of the sunshiny street and cafe. Like we were being taken along. My heart went many places. I love that You left so many questions unanswered….just kept us in the moment of how exciting and precious it is to buy such a gift and the wonderful feeling of giving….and seeing glimmers here and there beneath composure. I can’t stop smiling. Thank You for this!!! :)💖🌼☀️ Sending hugs You way!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Katy!! That painting caught my eyes when I was having a morning jog in a coastal town in China about three weeks ago. I turned and took a few pictures. I was a surprised because it reminded me of somewhere in Europe. Roma, Paris…It was just not very Chinese. I loved the atmosphere, the cafes and restaurants, the streets and people wandering around. I’d have loved to live in the painting and wander alone the street. Thank you so much Katy! Hugs and hugs in return 😊🌟💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How wonderful! I love when art just stops me in my tracks. The most powerful time that happened to me was one of Van Gogh’s self portraits. I was walking through the museum in NYC admiring all the wonderful work. I mean….he STOPPED me in my tracks and I was immediately in tears. That man could paint his soul so truthfully. Crazy beautiful!

        And YES! I would love to hop into that painting as well!!! Sit right at that little table and order a coffee or glass of wine. Yes please!!! Cheers, Isabelle!!! 🤗☀️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Isabelle, this post gave a bitter sweet feeling♥️ I admire how you related the title of the post with the description within, the line which also happens to be a poem stuck in my head from the first time I had read it and for good reason!
    I got lost in your words when the girl tried to capture his tender emotions which he covered up soon enough and then it returned with a fervour. Also the end♥️ the set up, the background, her excitement, his concealed tenderness and things about certain things only being felt in memories – all made this a beautiful post♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your interpretation twinklingwords, your words have gone straight to my heart. You captured everything, the mood, the emotions, the subtle intimacy. I’m surprised, overwhelmed, and touched. Thank you❤️


    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful words Southernwriter! This one is an experiment of third person narrative. Who could resist the line “A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever” by John Keats? Have a beautiful Sunday!


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