Monthly Archives: February 2012

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Ode to a Nightingale without the audio

John Keats. 1795–1821

Ode to a Nightingale

MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains  
  My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,  
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains  
  One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:  
‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,          5
  But being too happy in thine happiness,  
    That thou, light-wingèd Dryad of the trees,  
          In some melodious plot  
  Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,  
    Singest of summer in full-throated ease.   10
O for a draught of vintage! that hath been  
  Cool’d a long age in the deep-delvèd earth,  
Tasting of Flora and the country-green,  
  Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!  
O for a beaker full of the warm South!   15
  Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,  
    With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,  
          And purple-stainèd mouth;  
  That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,  
    And with thee fade away into the forest dim:   20
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget  
  What thou among the leaves hast never known,  
The weariness, the fever, and the fret  
  Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;  
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs,   25
  Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;  
    Where but to think is to be full of sorrow  
          And leaden-eyed despairs;  
  Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,  
    Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.   30
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,  
  Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,  
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,  
  Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:  
Already with thee! tender is the night,   35
  And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,  
    Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays  
          But here there is no light,  
  Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown  
    Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.   40
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,  
  Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,  
But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet  
  Wherewith the seasonable month endows  
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;   45
  White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;  
    Fast-fading violets cover’d up in leaves;  
          And mid-May’s eldest child,  
  The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,  
    The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.   50
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time  
  I have been half in love with easeful Death,  
Call’d him soft names in many a musèd rhyme,  
  To take into the air my quiet breath;  
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,   55
  To cease upon the midnight with no pain,  
    While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad  
          In such an ecstasy!  
  Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—  
    To thy high requiem become a sod.   60
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!  
  No hungry generations tread thee down;  
The voice I hear this passing night was heard  
  In ancient days by emperor and clown:  
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path   65
  Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,  
    She stood in tears amid the alien corn;  
          The same that ofttimes hath  
  Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam  
    Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.   70
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell  
  To toll me back from thee to my sole self!  
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well  
  As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.  
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades   75
  Past the near meadows, over the still stream,  
    Up the hill-side; and now ’tis buried deep  
          In the next valley-glades:  
  Was it a vision, or a waking dream?  
    Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep?   80

Check this out!

I thought it really enhanced the poem actually being able to hear the enjambment and such.  Also, I thought it would be interesting to connect an aspect of modern day techonology that is most likely a daily asset to our lives with poetry written decades ago.

I really wanted to show you all “Bright Star” by John Keats, but because of security reasons I couldn’t. If you get the chance, I would definitely recommend checking it out on YouTube. It was really interesting visuals! I


Now, lets get back to John Keats. I thought this was cool–got to love primary sources

Here is some my own poetry. It cannot compare with Clutch!

“Immersed in Neptune’s Lair”

Left, right, up, down.                                                                                                             

Nowhere to turn, no way to move,

Yet my body’s motion is perpetual.

Like a child’s most vulnerable ragdoll in habitual play.

There is no choice.

My soul engulfed by fear,

My brain swarming with vermin like thoughts,

But what to do?

Eyes sting, vision blurred but my thoughts clear

My throat swollen and stripped of vitality.

Summersaults of the stomach, mind, and body.                                                              

A salty taste, a hostile blow.

Time is frozen, yet the body is surrounded by a different state of matter

Which whirls me in every direction.

Is this the end?

It is unknown.

I am the ocean’s puppet.

Bringing back some new poetry (oxymoron?) from Clutch

“106 Way Road”

Bricks seem so thick

There’s a black top in front of me

It glows underneath the flood lights

An old memory of simpler times re-visits

Already nostalgic, I indulge it

Embrace it

Those young faces I once matched

While the wrinkled ones would try to organize our chaos

And quiet us in our single file lines

Then, my age was expressed by how dirty I could get before the sun set

Soon it will be shown by how deep my skin sags

My mind focuses again

And my attention directed to the reflection of copper laying face up I pick it up

When I press it between my fingers the imprints claim their land, but the temperature matches my mood

Goosebumps from a strange chill

Hanging my head, I hold it hostage

Blaming it for not enjoying what I once lived

The images remain, but my body spreads my only feeling Numbness

Looking up to where I once threw orange on orange I see the paint is fading from the rim

It’s chipping away, slowly becoming non-existent

The net is gone now, I guess it was my childhood

Back when my innocence made me smile

When my thoughts roamed outside of a box while I roamed around in them

But I’ve thought too much,

And reached the cube holding everything in

I’m trapped

Looking past the black top I can see the swing set,

The monkey bars,

Even farther lays the balancing chains,

The slide My eyes follow its slope

At the bottom, sitting down, there is a figure

It stands and walks towards me

It’s so small F

our steps from the pavement now

It approaches

The figure does nothing but smile at me

Smiling at its older self I look down

My lips cheek upwards, and my eyes water a little

As my heart slows it gets louder

Lowering gently onto one knee, at eye level, staring I tell myself my last words, “Although today it is me, we all shall fall.”

The life of John Keats

Was it hard to gain perspective into his poetry by just looking at the visual? I hope so.  Hopefully a little bit of background information on his life will help you once we start to look at his poetry.  Enjoy! 🙂

The wonderful John Keats was born on October 31, 1795, in London.  He was the oldest of four children.  His parents were killed when he was a young boy.  His father, who worked at a stable, died when Keats was eight.  His mother died from tuberculosis when Keats was 14.  His grandparents, his mother’s parents, good over the position as guardian for John  and his three siblings.  Both his grandparents were london merchants.  After John’s fifteenth birthday, his grandparents pulled him out of the Clarke school in orer to apprentice with an apothercary-surgeon; therefore, Keats would be at to study medicine at a hospital in London. In 1816 Keats became a licensed apothecary, but he never practiced his profession, deciding instead to write poetry.

When Keats was a young man, he met Leigh Hunt, an influential editor of the Examiner.  Hunt published many sonnets, and he also introduced Keats to a circle of literary men, including the poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Wordsworth.

The group’s influence enabled Keats to see his first volume, Poems by John Keats, published in 1817. Shelley, who was fond of Keats, had advised him to develop a more substantial body of work before publishing it. Keats, who was not as fond of Shelley, did not follow his advice. Endymion, a four-thousand-line erotic/allegorical romance based on the Greek myth of the same name, appeared the following year.

Keats spent the summer of 1818 on a walking tour in Northern England and Scotland, returning home to care for his brother, Tom, who suffered from tuberculosis. While nursing his brother, Keats met and fell in love with a woman named Fanny Brawne. Writing some of his finest poetry between 1818 and 1819, Keats mainly worked on “Hyperion,” a Miltonic blank-verse epic of the Greek creation myth. He stopped writing “Hyperion” upon the death of his brother, after completing only a small portion, but in late 1819 he returned to the piece and rewrote it as “The Fall of Hyperion” (unpublished until 1856). That same autumn Keats contracted tuberculosis, and by the following February he felt that death was already upon him, referring to the present as his “posthumous existence.”

In July 1820, he published his third and best volume of poetry, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems. The three title poems, dealing with mythical and legendary themes of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance times, are rich in imagery and phrasing. The volume also contains the unfinished “Hyperion,” and three poems considered among the finest in the English language, “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “Ode on Melancholy,” and “Ode to a Nightingale.” The book received enthusiastic praise from Hunt, Shelley, Charles Lamb, and others, and in August, Frances Jeffrey, influential editor of the Edinburgh Review, wrote a review praising both the new book and Endymion.

The fragment “Hyperion” was considered by Keats’s contemporaries to be his greatest achievement, but by that time he had reached an advanced stage of his disease and was too ill to be encouraged. He continued a correspondence with Fanny Brawne and—when he could no longer bear to write to her directly—her mother, but his failing health and his literary ambitions prevented their getting married. Under his doctor’s orders to seek a warm climate for the winter, Keats went to Rome with his friend, the painter Joseph Severn. He died there on February 23, 1821, at the age of twenty-five, and was buried in the Protestant cemetery.