John Keats It is commonly


John Keats

It is commonly acknowledged in the poetry world that Keats composed 5 major odes, in shorthand--Nightingale, Grecian Urn, Melancholy, Psyche, and To Autumn. "Ode to a Nightingale" may be my favorite for a variety of reasons (much having to do with an introduction by someone who truly loved the poem). But "To Autumn" is a wonderful, short and sumptuous taste of Keats. Some have said that the poem is almost too perfect in rhythm, imagery, cadence, and meaning. To that, I cannot speak, but I do think it a wonder, and it is poetry like this that makes me wonder what of our present crop will see survival into future eras. Nearly all of it pales in comparison.

Note the unusual eleven line stanzas--it is one of those quirks that make this accomplishment that much more magnificent.

To Autumn John Keats

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.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 6, 2002 8:27 AM.

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