Monthly Archives: February 2012
John Keats. 1795–1821
Ode to a Nightingale
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
“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.
“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
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
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
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.”
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.