Blog Archive

Our goal with this blog is to explore the many different works of Keats. By using many examples from his writings, we will be able to analyze and develop an appreciation for John Keats, his poems, short stories and the art inspired through him.

10 January, 2011

Reading response #3 Gale of Life

Lavinia Greenlaw is the author of the article "GALE OF LIFE", which is written about the life works of John Keats. The Popular Penguins collection of Keats poems includes favorites such as Ode to a Grecian Urn, La Belle Dame sans Merci and Ode to a Nightingale. There is an interesting introduction, and a selection of Keats’ work including a small collection of light-hearted and nonsense poems from letters written by Keats to family and friends.  Greenlaw says that this book of keats' work is seemed to be preceived as if the reader had never even heard of Keats as an author.  "What if we had never heard of Housman or Keats but came to them for the first time through these books? This seems to be the spirit in which these editions are intended. They are produced "in the form in which they originally appeared", without introduction or annotation, just endnotes by Michael Schmidt that concentrate on their publication." This article has nothing but good things to say about keats' work. The article goes on to say that these poems are mostly in ballad form, they have a poetic foot of two syllables or trochaic beat.  The book displays huge psychological shifts brought by world war one.  These stories are full of lives being belittled, overthrown and ultimately erased by the chapters of history, ultimately to serve no good purpose.  Lamia was John Keats's final book.  It was published a year before his death.  This book contained some of his most famous works, including three eponymous poem, the great odes, and his desired fragment, "Hyperion."  Greenlaw potrays the beauty of Keats's work so well with her descriptive views on all of his poems and writtings in his books.  "Keats is one of the most physical poets I can think of.  Lamia in her snake incarnation is a nauseating excess of exotic beauty: "Vermillion spotted, golden, green and blue", "Striped like a zebra", "Eyed like a peacock", all chilly, chimerical moons and fire.  But when she speaks, her voice is "bubbling honey",  and even though we've not yet seen her guise as a woman, we know Lycias doesnt stand a chance.  This change of temperature is as sudden as that in "the honey'd middle of the night".  Here, Keats seduces us with voluptuous (a word he seems to have liked) descriptions of their feast: "With jellies soother than the creamy curd,/And lucent sirops, tinct with cinnamon.""  

A poem that I found interesting was one that goes by the name of  'A Song About Myself'. It is quiet short compared to many of Keats' writtings.  The reason for this, I believe, is because he is obviously writting about himself (hence the title 'A Song About  Myself').  This poem talks about his younger years. It has a theme of saying that "There was a naughty boy", one might wonder why he refers to himself as "a naughty boy".  He goes on to say how he used to keep fish in the tubs in spite of the maids.  Also, i believe he says that he was a theif and would steal.  The last stanza of this curious poem says how he ran away from home to Scotland.  He says while being there he noticed how that everything he saw and felt and experienced was completely the same as when he was back in England.  There was a naughty boy, And a naughty boy was he, He ran away to Scotland The people for to see- There he found That the ground Was as hard, That a yard Was as long, That a song Was as merry, That a cherry Was as red, That lead Was as weighty, That fourscore Was as eighty, That a door Was as wooden As in England- So he stood in his shoes And he wonder'd, He wonder'd, He stood in his Shoes and he wonder'd. This poem is very intruiging to me because i love how much of an adventurous kid he was. I have always dreamed about running away to a new and bright place different from where ive lived my whole life.  Sometimes when i read Keats' work and writtings i just want to be where he is describing or see what he sees.  Keats has such a magnificent way of creating something out of nothing.  His flow with his words is amazing.  Keats achived so much and died so young that people read these collection of both as a culmination nd an arrested start.  Someone could know absolutely nothing about Keats, but by reading Lamia would know everything just becasue of the way it communicates his acuity and intensity. 

06 January, 2011

Star Gazing By Nicole Brown (GRADE THIS ONE)

As I lay here by your side on your old, beat up blanket in the middle of my backyard, I wonder how you shine just as bright as the stars. Then, my thoughts start to wander, and I start to think all about you. Your personality draws me in like bait on the end of a fishing line. Your heart is as wide open as a child’s eyes when he presses his nose up against a window of a candy store. Your hair reminds me of the golden rays of the sun, and makes me wish for a summer day. Your eyes glisten like the sun spread across the warm summer ocean and the way your eyes look at me, you give me such a warm feeling inside of my soul. Your loves gives me butterflies in my stomach whenever I see you and you’re the only one who can make my heart beat faster and slower at the same time. I start to daze out of my dream world and look into your eyes as bright as my Christmas tree lit up for the holidays. The stars shine off of your eyes so perfectly; I begin to get stuck into your forest green eyes. Your dazzling eyes always remind me of your love for hunting. You look back into mine, and I notice the love and affections within them. Your luscious lips lean in for a kiss, slow and gentle, and softly peck mine. I get lost in the moment and wish I could be stuck here forever. Your lips taste like the strawberries grown in my backyard, and I long for the taste again. As we lay back down onto your childhood blanket, we begin to stare back at the glowing stars. Then, suddenly a shooting star passes by; I wish to have endless nights spent with you, just like this. I search for the moon, which is just a sliver of pie tonight. I turn toward you once again and your welcoming arms open towards me. Your arms wrap around me tight, like a koala bear tightly wound around a tree. My eyes begin to shut and I fall asleep in your loving embrace. Please God, let this amazing person stay in my life forever.

Community Blog

For the community blog post I read the poem Identity Theft  by Ethan Palioca. It was an extrememly well written prose poem and i learned a lot by reading it. It was a very deep and thought out poem. Explained with an acceptional writting style and glorious emotions. It had me sitting in the edge of my seat up until the very end of the poem.  Ethan has a beautiful way with the words he used to express his feelings through the poem.  It is a poem i think that every student at CAL should read, not only for a lesson on writting prose poems, but just for a good read. This prose poem had such good flow and rhythm my mind was blown.  My favorite part of this prose poem was probably where Ethan says:
"What is left after I cannot even say I’m living for myself anymore? Let alone as myself. When will the world give a new meaning? How will I interpret it and through what? A girl? A sign? What if I don’t recognize it, am I lost after that?
These questions fill my head every day, continuing the onslaught of negativity I create for myself and those who surround me and don’t deserve it. I hope this day of revelation for me comes soon because my patience is thinning."   Whenever I want to read a good prose poem I know exactly where to find it, and that is on the Blog site of Megan Townly, Maria Castellanos, Ethan Palioca, and Jackie Tignor. Their Blog page 'Blake is My Homie' is a very well put together blog spot.  It has a very easy to read page, with a gray background and a deep red font.  They also have some pretty cool pictures going on the site.  They have so many well written and interesting posts that it just kept me up all night reading them.  With titles such as "The chimney sweeper", "The Tyger", "Loves secret", and "The Crystal Cabinet" theres no way it cant be an interesting blog. So I Andrew Torrey congradulate this team of students on making an excellent Blog.  

"The "Fears" of John Keats"

      "The "Fears" of John Keats", written by M.A. Goldberg, analyzes Keats' poem, "When I Have Fears."  Goldberg starts by pointing out that Keats' poem is broken into three quadrants, each with metaphorical meaning.  In the first quadrant, Goldberg acknowledges a few of Keats' fears, such as dying "Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain", meaning he fears of not reaching poetic fulfillment, which may be related to the "fame" he mentions in the last line.  His fears of not reaching poetic maturity can also be seen in line four, when Keats' mentions "full ripen'd grain", metaphorically speaking of his ideas, and how he fears of death before he can reap his grain (ideas) from his mature fields (his brain).  This reference to a ripened field of grain relates to the autumnal season, and this measure of time is held all throughout the first quadrant.  The first quadrant is also a "passive realm", meaning the protagonist is not doing the action; he is being acted upon, such as " pen has glean'd my teeming brain".  It is not the protagonist doing the thinking or writing, it is the pen doing the action.   The first quadrant also contains "concrete imagery", such as the pen and the "high-piled books."  Into the second quadrant, the concrete imagery changes to symbols that are cloudy, such as the "magic hand of chance" and "shadows".  Into the second quadrant, the autumnal season is also reduced to one night, when Keats looks "upon the night's starr'd face".  There is a decrease in the amount of time, and the tangible ideas from the first to the second quadrant.  However, there is an increase in the internal force, or individual power Keats' seams to suggest.  Keats goes from "my pen has glean'd my teeming brain", to "the magic hand of chance", which is not completely active and only shows a slight change, but it is "potentially active" whereas in the first quadrant, the protagonist has no active part in the pen gleaning his teeming brain.  In the third quadrant, Time is reduced to "a fair creature of an hour", and ideas are reduced to "faery" powers, and become intangible objects such as love.  The protagonist's individual power also becomes more distinct, as the protagonist stands alone, and thinks, which shows protagonist doing the action, and not being acted upon.  In line fourteen, time is reduced to nothing, when Keats says “to nothingness do sink.”  The last two lines in Keats’ poem hold a lot of meaning, because of the ways the protagonist’s standing alone and thinking can be interpreted, and how the sinking to nothingness can be interpreted.  Goldberg says the reduction to nothingness could be a mathematical zero, or could mean insignificance.  Goldberg focuses more on the opinion of insignificance, because he believes it agrees more with what Keats' other works seem to say.  It is not the protagonist sinking, however.  Goldberg says it is love and fame that sink, and the protagonist is rising above his fears, and rising toward value.  Goldberg describes this as a “stepping of the imagination”, from poetry to love, to a “fellowship with essence”.  The essence of love and fame are not eliminated by sinking to nothingness, but Goldberg says the space and time element that restricts love and fame are removed.  What is left is the unchanging and permanent experience of love and fame.  Goldberg also says that self-annihilation is not an awful thing to Keats; he says Keats achieves his identity, greatness, and dignity “to the degree he annihilates the ego…projects individuality into the totality of the experience”, meaning Keats has put everything into his identity, and no longer has an ego.
            The first time I read this article, I was extremely confused.  I had not read the poem Goldberg is talking about, and all the references he had made the article really hard to understand if you had not read the poem.  I read the poem for one of my posts, and made my own interpretation of it, then the second time I read the article, I actually thought it was really interesting.  It was much easier to follow when I knew what he was talking about, and he had very many things to say and point out that I had not noticed in the poem, like the decrease in time from the autumnal season, to one night, to one hour, then to nothing.  I thought it was really interesting to see all the things Goldberg could pick apart in Keats’ poem.  In my interpretation, I thought Keats was talking about his fears of dying before he has reached his goals of writing everything he has to say, and of falling in love.  Goldberg goes into much more depth, and finds patterns that I would have never thought of looking for.  I was really dreading this project of reading the interpretation of a poem, but I found it interesting and it didn’t turn out as painful as I originally thought.

Emotions and Interpretations

The poem “Isabella or; the Pot of Basil” is analyzed in the article Keats, Ideals, and Isabella, by Evan Radcliffe. The article states that any poem, specifically “Isabella or; the Pot of Basil,” can be interpreted based off of the readers emotions. Radcliffe’s ideals displayed in his article connect to the poem “Isabella or; the Pot of Basil” because of the fact that there are multiple themes throughout the course of the poem.  Keats’ poem “Isabella or; the Pot of Basil uses love as a main theme but depending on how you feel while reading it depends on the outcome of your interpretation. “…call into question the authenticity of all emotions, making them seem part of a disturbingly mechanical process of stimulus and response” (Radcliffe 259). What Radcliffe is trying to get across is that how you feel while reading a poem will determine how you see the interpretation. Radcliffe summarizes by saying that Isabella or; the Pot of Basil is especially mandible because of the theme. The theme of love can be read in many different ways depending how you feel. While reading Isabella or; the Pot of Basil if you have just suffered a break up you might sympathize with how Isabella feels about losing Lorenzo. On the other hand if you have a sister dating a person you don’t like, it can be assumed that sympathy would be placed with the brothers. In essence no matter what the author was trying to convey through their writing, interpretations will always come from the emotions felt by the reader.
While reading the article I felt that Radcliffe was on the right path in describing exactly how romantic poems function. While reading both “Isabella or; the Pot of Basil” and “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” my interpretations were completely wrong. I couldn’t figure out the correct interpretation because I didn’t want to read the poem, by feeling angry about the poem, and as if it was not needed my mind in itself decided that the themes of the poems had nothing to do with the correct theme. Keats often associated love and pain both in his life and in his poetry.  He wrote of a young woman he found attractive, "When she comes into a room she makes an impression the same as the Beauty of a Leopardess.... I should like her to ruin me..."  Love and death are coupled in "Isabella; or, the Pot of Basil," and "La Belle Dame sans Merci."  The Fatal Woman (the woman whom it is destructive to love, like Salome, Lilith, and Cleopatra) appears in La Belle Dame sans Merci" and "Lamia."  Although what Radcliffe described in his article was accurate, I feel as if in some way it is inaccurate. Poetry is written to be blatantly obvious, to the extent where poets aren’t going to mask the main theme in the poem itself. The poet will make it stand out, so even if the subtle messages are never truly discovered, the main theme will stand alone and make for an understanding of the poem.

He knew whose gentle hand was at the latch,
  Before the door had given her to his eyes;
And from her chamber-window he would catch
  Her beauty farther than the falcon spies;
And constant as her vespers would he watch,
  Because her face was turn’d to the same skies;
And with sick longing all the night outwear,
To hear her morning-step upon the stair.

The above stanza gives way to the fact that multiple outcomes can be achieved regarding interpretations. When it says “…And with sick longing all the night outwear,” the words can be interpreted in many different ways; for example it could be that Lorenzo is so madly in love with Isabella that he wastes all his energy fretting over her. However it could also be interpreted as the amount of time Lorenzo spends thinking about Isabella makes him sick because of how much he worries. This just adds depth to the point that Radcliffe is trying to make by saying “… their source may not be his own perversity, but the idealized vision of the poem itself.” 

05 January, 2011

Ode on a Grecian Urn

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

In the first stanza, the speaker stands before an ancient Grecian urn and talks to it. It is the “still unravish’d bride of quietness,” the “foster-child of silence and slow time that keeps him there mesmerized. He continues on to describes the urn as a “historian” that can tell a story. He wonders about the figures on the side of the urn and asks what legend they tell and from where they came. The final lines are of two men chasing a woman and he wonders what the motives are.
“What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?”
In the second stanza, the speaker looks at another picture on the urn, this time of a young guy playing a pipe, lying with his girl beneath a glade of trees. He says that the piper’s “unheard” melodies are sweeter than mortal melodies because they are unaffected by time. He tells the youth that, even though he can never kiss his lover because he is frozen in time, he should not grieve, because her beauty will never fade.
In the third stanza, he looks at the trees surrounding the two lovers and feels happy that they will never shed their leaves. He is happy for the piper because his songs will be “forever new,” and happy that the love of the boy and the girl will last forever, unlike mortal love which turns into “breathing human passion” and eventually vanishes, leaving behind only a “burning forehead, and a parching tongue.”
In the fourth stanza, the speaker looks at another picture on the urn. This one of a group of villagers leading a heifer to be sacrificed. He wonders where they are going (“To what green altar, O mysterious priest...”)and from where they have come. He imagines their little town, and tells it that its streets will “for evermore” be silent, for those who have left it, frozen on the urn.
 In the final stanza, the speaker again addresses the urn itself, saying that it, like Eternity, “doth tease us out of thought.” He thinks that when his generation is dead, the urn will remain, telling future generations its lesson: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” The speaker says that that is the only thing the urn knows and the only thing it needs to know.

04 January, 2011

"On Fame"

Fame, like a wayward girl, will still be coy
    To those who woo her with too slavish knees,
But makes surrender to some thoughtless boy,
    And dotes the more upon a heart at ease;
She is a Gipsey,—will not speak to those
    Who have not learnt to be content without her;
A Jilt, whose ear was never whisper’d close,
    Who thinks they scandal her who talk about her;
A very Gipsey is she, Nilus-born,
    Sister-in-law to jealous Potiphar;
Ye love-sick Bards! repay her scorn for scorn;
    Ye Artists lovelorn! madmen that ye are!
Make your best bow to her and bid adieu,
Then, if she likes it, she will follow you.

            In Keats’ poem “On Fame”, Keats mentions fame, and compares it to a woman.  He also compares people’s want for fame to a man’s lust for a woman.  Keats’ begins by saying Fame is like a shy girl, and will be hesitant to follow those who try too hard to attract her attention; but will succumb to the humble boy who doesn’t try to “woo her with too slavish knees.”  Keats goes on to compare fame and popularity to a woman who doesn’t settle, a “Gipsey.”  The men who shame her for not pursuing them, and become spiteful of the woman, are compared to people who are all too concerned with their social prevalence.  Keats says the woman is “Sister-in-law to jealous Potipher” and calls the men mad, and “love-sick bastards”.  The poem ends saying to give the lady your best bow, and “if she likes it, she will follow you”, meaning if you are patient and humble, things you desire will come to you.
            I think this poem can be related to pop-culture in the way it talks about fame, and how people seem to loose their minds over it.  People seem to push boundaries, social norms, and moral values, to shock people and be remembered for something.  One example of this would be Lady Gaga; she always has some funky new outfit, outrageous hairstyle, or scandalous video that contorts most ideals of what is appropriate.  She shocks people with the things she publicizes.  In her music video, “Paparazzi”, she even addresses how far people will go for fame.  In the beginning of the video, a man pushes Lady Gaga over a balcony, and the headlines of various papers are shown with Lady Gaga’s name in them; she had made headlines by doing something shocking, or by being a victim of something tragic.  In today’s pop-culture, tragic, shocking, offensive, and sexual material, even if doesn’t say much of anything but “Birthday Sex”, become popular.  Although today’s pop-culture somewhat contradicts what Keats is saying in his poem about Fame following the humble, it supports Keats’ idea of people getting caught up in the idea of fame, and taking possibly taking things too far.

Isabella or the pot of Basil

Isabella, whose story has been told by Keats, in a tale, and poem, was a maid of messina who was left to be taken care of her two brothers. Her brothers were rich and absorbed in business, they found solace in the company of Lorenzo, the comely manager of their enterprises.  The brothers noticed that isabella and Lorenzo have had many meetings, but, wishing to avoid conflict, they pretended not to have seen this.  Finally they took Lorenzo to a festival outside the city, and there they killed him.  They told their sister that Lorenzo had been sent on a long jouney, but when months had passed, she could no longer stand the pain of his absence anymore.  She asked her brother when he would return.  "What do you mean?" said one of the brothers. "What have you in common with such as Lorenzo? Ask for him farther, and you shall be answered as you deserve."   Isabella stayed in her chamber for that day, for she feared for Lorenzo.  When she had fallen asleep, Lorenzos ghost appeared, and addressed her: "Isabella, I can never return to you, for on that day we saw each other last your brothers slew me."  After telling where she would find his body, he melted into the air. Unable to shake off the impression of the scene, she fled to the scene of the murder.  She found Lorenzo.  With a knife she removed his, and borrowing "a great and goodly pot,"layed it in there and covered it with soil.  She planted some basil of Salerno, and the plant started to grow from lorenzos flesh.  She kept the plant in her house where she would weep over it.  Her brothers became worried for her mental health, so they took the plant away from her.  Her brothers then became aware that she had hidden the head of her lover in the pot, so they burried it again. When they realized that the murder had been discovered they fled to Naples.  Isabella died of heart-emptiness, still weeping over her pot of basil. 

The moon is mourning beside me

You had to leave this morning, and would be miles away come the next moon.  Shattered into pieces throughout the afternoon.  I must not succumb to my mourning, for you will return in one year, come fall and overall, there will be no death.
I will survive, and you will survive death.  The sun will rise for us every morning, For love like this, can have no fall.  We are drawn to each, like the tide to the moon.  Though i still feel myself mourning the tears will be dried come afternoon.
I traced our steps to the beach last afternoon, the plants were surrounded in death, This season only emphasizes my mourning, for i know i will shiver alone in the morning.  The clouds blanket the sky, and i cant see our moon. I can only survive because you will return next fall.
Now it is five months until the Fall.  I am smiling this afternoon, tonight will be our favorite, a full moon.  There will be no thought of death.  The birds will wake me in the morining, and there will be no room for mourning.
Right now my heart has no trace of mourning, for it is two months 'til Fall.  There will be two cups of coffee every morning, Two sandwiches every afternoon. We will both have bypassed a lonely death, and will sleep together under every moon. 
Last night there was no moon. I am unable to conceal this mourning. You were supposed to to escape death. Return this fall.  The message was delivered yesterday afternoon. I will forever wake alone every morning.
My mourning has become a part of me, I carry your death on my shoulder as I walk under the moon.  I go home and dream of you returning that Fall, walking to me in the warm light of the afternoon.  The images and blurred memories of your face disappear as the night turns to morning.

03 January, 2011

Creating a Communtiy; The Life and Work of John Keats

I dare you to click here if you are awesome, and wish to see another blog of John Keats.

Over the past few weeks, my English class has been working on blogs, as a project.  This is another blog of John Keats and his works, titled, "The Life and Work of John Keats."  This blog happens to talk about just that- John Keats' life, his poetry, and impacts he has had on people and culture, even today.  I wanted to see what other people my age had to say about Keats, and how they had interpreted his works.  I am also interested in some of the information they have found of Keats, like the impact his work has on today's culture.
     I like the format of this blog because it is simple, and easy to navigate.  The blog is visually appealing with its simple and colorful scheme.  I also like how they covered many different aspects and works of Keats; and I found their blog about Keats' impact on today’s culture very interesting.  I had never noticed the reference to Keats and other Romanticism poets in Natasha Bedingfield’s song, “These Words”.  I didn’t realize how Romantic poets influenced art and music.    I also like their blog about Keats' poem "When I have Fears", because it gave another view on the interpretation of this poem.  The video kind of creeped me out, but it was refreshing to see a video and hear the poem; not to just read another poem.  It is also helpful in understanding the poem to hear it spoken. 
            In my opinion, this blog is helpful for someone who knows little or nothing about John Keats.  It shows a few of his most popular works, which is helpful in understanding a poet.  I also think the interpretation of the poem is helpful for someone trying to learn about a poet, and one person’s view of the poem can help another person understand it in their own way.  I also like how they have a list of vocabulary, to help you understand the poem better.  I think it is definitely helpful for someone who knows nothing about the Romanticism Era and its poets, because the use many uncommon words.

A Thing of Beauty

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

Nor do we merely feel these essences
For one short hour; no, even as the trees
That whisper round a temple become soon
Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon,
The passion poesy, glories infinite,
Haunt us till they become a cheering light
Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast
That, whether there be shine or gloom o'ercast,
They always must be with us, or we die.

Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I
Will trace the story of Endymion.
The very music of the name has gone
Into my being, and each pleasant scene
Is growing fresh before me as the green
Of our own valleys: so I will begin
Now while I cannot hear the city's din;
Now while the early budders are just new,
And run in mazes of the youngest hue
About old forests; while the willow trails
Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails
Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year
Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer
My little boat, for many quiet hours,
With streams that deepen freshly into bowers.
Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the daisies, vermeil rimmed and white,
Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
I must be near the middle of my story.
O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
See it half finished: but let Autumn bold,
With universal tinge of sober gold,
Be all about me when I make an end!
And now at once, adventuresome, I send
My herald thought into a wilderness:
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.

John Keats finds beautiful words and beautiful solace in nature, yet the pain and sting of ill health is still written repeatedly among natures beauty throughout this poem.  'Spite of despondance, of the inhuman dearth of noble natures, of the gloomy days, of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkn'd ways made for our searching: yes, in spite of all, some shape of beauty moves away the pall'.  Dying of tuberculosis, know the pain of this death, coughing up blood until you die, a death his mother and brother have already died from.  Not being able to marry the woman you love because you are too ill and poor, is very tragic but not quite beautiful.  Keats places his hope beyond the doom of death concluding with  'And such too is the grandeur of the dooms we have imagined for the mighty dead; An endless fountain of immortal drink, Pouring unto us from the heavens brink.'

Something to Nothing

     You were so young.  You were tall, beautiful, and sweet; the definition of a "Gentle Giant."  Your life was only just beginning, but it was cut short by the hands of bad luck.  We wanted to try to heal you, but we thought our feeble attempts to mend your small, fragile bone would be torture.  How could we treat you like that; like a toy that just needs to be put into storage for awhile?  We couldn't trap you in a box, for nearly as long as you have lived, without any interaction.  And where would it get us?  "Hopefully" you would be healed "good enough"; with the best of circumstances, which were already against you, you would be forced to a life without meaning.  Prone to complications, abuse, and neglect.  It broke my heart to make the decision, to say goodbye to those beautiful, loving eyes forever.
     I'm so sorry for the pain I caused you.  You had to suffer because of our ignorance, and our indecisiveness.  We wanted to save you, but it only caused you more pain and unrest.  On March eighteenth, your second birthday, we released you of your pain and suffering, and let you go forever.
     I still remember the day you came into this world, and how beautiful you were.  I remember your sweet, lifeless face before you were detached from your mother.  It was the same face I saw after you were cut from the ties of this world.  I remember the sounds of your first wobbly steps, and the sound of your un-coordinated body falling to the ground.  It's the same sound you made two years later, when you hit the ground for the last time.  Your heart was stopped forever, your brain flooded with the same poison that stopped your heart.
     I remember the feeling of your big muscles, still warm and soft with fresh blood.  Your muscles were still alive, your veins still full of oxygen-bearing blood, each cell still doing its duty; it wasn't meant to be the end.  But you were without a brain to direct, or a heart to pump.  Most of all, what made you who you are, was gone.  You were still alive, each muscle still capable of transmitting signals, but you had left.  It was an empty body.  No love to fill those soft eyes.  No more of your fearfulness that I never understood, no more of the stubborn fights I dreaded, no more of the forgiveness I always took for granted, no more of the curiosity I adored.  Your body is still here; I can still stroke your long hair, and kiss your squishy nose, but what does it mean if I'm merely kissing an empty body?  If what I loved is no longer there, what worth is your body?  Your eyes are empty, your brain thoughtless.  As your body cools, your cells die, your blood becomes stale, your muscles become stiff, I feel no connection to this rotting body.  This body is just a memory now, it has little significance without you.  I did not love this body, I loved the being inside this body, and he is long gone.

A look at John Keats life

'He is made one with Nature: there is heard
His voice in all her music; from the moan
Of thunder to the song of night's sweet bird;
He is a presence to be felt and known
In darkness and in light, from herb and stone,
Spreading itself where'er that Power may move
Which has withdrawn his being to its own;
Which wields the world with never wearied love,
Sustains it from beneath, and kindles it above.

He is a portion of the loveliness
Which once he made more lovely: he doth bear
His part, while the one Spirit's plastic stress
Sweeps through the dull dense world, compelling there
All new successions to the forms they wear.'

These lines are from an elegy by Shelley on the death of Keats. 

 John Keats was born in Moorfields on October 29th 1796. At the age of nine Keats lost his father, and not long after, he lost his mother as well.  Keats was the oldest of three sons and one daughter.  He was educated at the Rev Mr clarke's school at Enfield, and later on apprenticed to Mr Hammond, a surgeon, in Church Street Edmonton.  After the usual term of years with Mr Hammond, Keats became a student at Guy's Hospital where he was indefaticable in his application to anatomy, medicine, and natural history. Though Keats was born to be a poet, he ignored his birthright until he had reached the age of nineteen.  In earlier years his free times would not be spent reading works of imagination, neither had he attempted, nor thought of writting a single line.  With keats being so passionate and had such an imagination it was strange that no indication of those qualities appeared in his young years.  It was the 'Faery Queen' that awakened his genius.  In Spenser's fairy land he was changed completely. He attempted to imitate the stanza, and succeded.  From that moment he began to read and ponder over other poets.  Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare were his household gods. 

John Keats was one of the key figures in the second generation of the romantic movement, even though his work had just been in publication for only four years before his death.  During his life, his poems were not generally well received by critics, however, after his death, his reputation grew to the extent that by the end of the 19th century he had become one of the most beloved of all English poets. 

02 January, 2011

The Rose

In a luscious over grown green meadow, one early, frosty spring morning there grew a rose. A rose as red as the love that two new lovers share. And bold. Bold as a mighty, brown bear. It was lovely, like the calm before the storm. But its beauty caused pain like a thorn through ones heart. It appeared so heavenly like a statue made of gold, truth be told. The god’s tears fell upon the earth, like a torrential down pour from above, the rose feverously fed off the rain like a rugged cactus without all the strain. The rose bred love like a newborns fate, but it also bred hate, like a felon locked behind the gate. The rose was beautiful to lover’s eyes as if plucked right outta their imagination’s rise. It grew demonic like a crazed rattle snake and made them irate. Irate as bull on a ghoulish rampage. Among its presence, it revealed fool’s lies. It became a master of deception. Not to be seen by careful eyes. The oblivious people, huddled in their own drab world, lost their mind like a patient in the ward. It caused them to see a false perception. As if reflected by a puddle of water. Rippled with the rings of others depression. It seduced its victims like a woman of the night, leaving them blind. Alone in the world without a light. Death...  Destruction… Jealousy… hate… corruption… A lonely, grizzled,  widowed man as old as the rose itself. With grayed hair like the sky of a beach rainy day.  A man who once loved but now lost, laid eyes upon all that had been put to waste. He saw all the destruction. Relating it to his forlorn life. He killed the rose, red and bold the cause of corruption.

"When I have fears"

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact'ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.

    In this poem, I think Keats is describing a few of his biggest fears.  In line two, he is talking about his fear of dying before he can write all his ideas and poems.  Keats wants to make his mark on the world, to leave behind something memorable like a poem; he is afraid of dying without reaching this goal.  I think in lines five and six, Keats is creating a sort of illustration for romance and love by describing gazing into the starry night sky and relating it to romance.  Line six, I believe, expresses many aspects of a high romance and love.  By saying "High Romance" and relating it to clouds, he is referring to love and romance as a high power, and a powerful and striking thing that can be beautiful, but can also be dark and dreary.  Also, “cloudy” in “huge cloudy symbols…” could refer to the unclear signs and symbols of love.  When, in lines seven and eight, Keats says " And think that I may never live to trace their shadows, with the magic hand of chance", I think he is expressing his fear of not falling in love by saying that he will not to get to trace the shadows of the "huge cloudy symbols of a high romance" (line six) meaning he will not get to experience a high romance.  The “hand of chance” could express how Keats thinks that love is by chance, and he won’t experience the high romance without the “magic hand of chance”, and how he fears of dying before he is lucky enough to experience love.  In lines nine and ten, I think Keats could be talking about a girl, a love of his; Keats could also be literally talking about time, and how he fears of losing time, and not doing something worth his time every hour.  When he says “That I should never look upon thee more”, he could be talking about never seeing a love of his again, or he could be talking about how he is a creature that is at the mercy of time, and will never get to see the past hours again.  In lines eleven through fourteen, I think Keats is telling of what he fears he will become when he hasn’t appreciated the enchanting powers of love.  Keats says he stands alone on the shores of the world and thinks, until he becomes nothing.  I think this relates to the fears of many, to be all alone in the world, until things that you have desired become worthless.  For Keats, it may be fame and love, as he says in line fourteen, and he is afraid of being so lonely that his goals and desires no longer have meaning.

The Life and Death of John Keats

John Keats was born on 31 October 1795 in central London to Thomas and Frances Jennings Keats. He was the oldest of their four surviving children, George, Thomas, Frances Mary and a son was also lost in infancy.  Keats developed an interest in classics and history early in life which would stay with him. The instability of Keats's childhood made him  a volatile character "always in extremes” because of the fighting. However at 13 he began focusing his energy towards reading and study, winning his first academic prize in midsummer 1809. In April 1804, when Keats was eight, his father was killed, fracturing his skull after falling from his horse on a return visit to his school. Thomas died interstate. Frances remarried two months later, but left her new husband soon afterwards, her four children going to live with the children's grandmother, Alice Jennings, in the village of Edmonton.  In March 1810, when Keats was 14, his mother died of tuberculosis leaving the children in the custody of their grandmother who then appointed two guardians to take care of them. That fall, Keats was removed from Clarke's school to apprentice with Thomas Hammond, a surgeon and apothecary, lodging in the attic above the surgery until 1813. Cowden Clarke, who was a close friend of Keats, described this as “the most placid time in Keats's life." Having finished his apprenticeship with Hammond, Keats registered as a medical student at Guy's Hospital and began there in October 1815. Within a month of starting, he was accepted for a dressership position within the hospital, the equivalent of a junior house surgeon. It was a significant promotion marking his distinct talent for medicine, the role coming with increased responsibility and workload. His long and expensive medical training with Hammond and at Guys made his assume this would be his lifelong career, assuring financial security. Strongly drawn by ambition and inspired by fellow poets such as Leigh Hunt and Byron, and begrudged by family financial crises that continued to the end of his life, he suffered chronic periods of depression.

During 1820, Keats displayed serious symptoms of tuberculosis, to the extent that he suffered two lung hemorrhages in the first few days of February. He died on February 23rd 1821 and was buried in the Protestant Cemetery, Rome. His last request was to be placed under an unnamed tombstone which contained only the words (in pentameter), "Here lies one whose name was writ in water." 
To see the blog posted by my fellow classmates click here

The blog "The Headless Boyfriend," by Cody Schaffer, Geoffrey Braught, Lauren Fleskes,  depicts representations of opinions based on the poem by John Keats, Isabella; or The Pot of Basil. I found that the blog gives helpful information on how to dive deeper into the poem and that it connects Isabella; or The Pot of Basil to the world as we know it today. The video posted of the poem I really enjoyed and thought it was helpful in getting a better understanding.  The layout and structure of the page make it easy to navigate and easy to read. I especially liked the fact that the blog background in contrast with the words made it easy to read.  I also enjoyed the fact that the pictures and videos add to the overall presentation of the page. The fact that they took the time to find videos that connected to the poem was pretty interesting. One of the posts stated that they had to read the poem multiple times to fully get an understanding for what John Keats was trying to get across, I think that’s a useful tool to tell others with personal experience that it takes more than one time to fully understand a romantic poem.
I believe that this blog would be an excellent resource for anyone trying to get a deeper understanding of John Keats or Isabella or; the Pot of Basil. The blog goes into full detail what the poem Isabella or; The Pot of Basil is about and how to get a better understanding of it. The multiple sources that they use are great but, because they have them on their blog in one centralized location makes it less of a hassle to find. Overall the blog The Headless Boyfriend is very useful. I would recommend it many times over because of its easy to navigate layout and colour scheme, its many resources and its accuracy. Not mentioned above but also very useful is the way the author connected it to today’s media and contrasted the way John Keats and other romantic poets alike have influenced the pop culture of today.

Love Never Fades by Nicole Brown

Oh love, how I adore you, and your constant mysteries. One day you decided to get up and pack your things, leaving me with the reminder of you everyday. How I loved the days and nights we spent together, the laughter we shared and the secrets we swore to keep. How could you leave me, dear love? Was everything a huge lie? You held my heart with your own two hands, but now it lies dead on the ground. How can I remake something half back into a whole? I wish that glue could repair a broken heart, but that isn’t true. Maybe if I find some extra strength it would work, but I’m just a dork for believing that. Did you forget every moment we shared? I sure did not. My love will never fade. You’re a constant reminder in my brain, a everlasting memory, and an amazing adventure. Did you forget that the journey wasn’t suppose to end? Did you really way to say goodbye? Do you have someone new on the side? My questions are never ending and flow like a river in my head. Sometimes I wish I was dead. God, please help me forget, I don’t want this pain anymore. Don’t you love me god? If you do take it all away. I’m begging you! My love never fades. Your hurting me so bad, more and more everyday, but I still love you. This is so funny. But, after all of this I still want you. I want you like a child wants a toy, or a ocean wants rain. You are my everything. Your not physically here anymore but your definitely in my heart. I swear I cant live without you, but I’m doing it everyday. I’m no longer a part of your life, but your still a huge part of mine. I promise you, love never fades!

"Isabella; or The Pot of Basil" - The Stolen Basil Plant

And So she pined, and so she died forlorn,
Imploring for her Basil to the last.
No heart was there in Florence but did mourn
In pity of her love, so overcast.
And a sad Ditty of this story born
From mouth to mouth through all the country pass'd:
Still is the burthen sung-- Oh cruelty,
To steal my Basil-pot away from me!'

John Keats’ Poem “Isabella; or The Pot of Basil” tells a story of two lovers, Isabella and Lorenzo, who have to hide their affection for each other.  Isabella is from a high class family, while Lorenzo is from a lower class family.  In the time period this poem is written, it was atrocious for two people of different classes to see each other.  Isabella’s brothers discovered the affair between Lorenzo and Isabella and made Lorenzo leave town, then they killed him.  The Brothers told Isabella “Lorenzo had ta’en ship for foreign lands” (line 226).  Isabella believed them and fretted for some time about what could be keeping Lorenzo for so long.  Lorenzo then came to Isabella in a dream, telling his sweet Isabella he was a shadow now, and berries fell on his head and there was a stone at his feet.  In the morning, Isabella went to find her lover’s corpse; when she did, she cut off his head and put his head in a pot and planted basil in the pot and watered it with her tears.  The pot of basil prospered, and the brothers wondered why Isabella bothered so much over this plant, and they hated seeing their sister so distraught.  The brothers stole her pot of basil, seeing Lorenzo’s face in it, and left to never return.
 This painting by John Melhuish Strudwick (1879) shows Isabella mourning over the loss of her pot of basil after her brothers steel it.  The brothers can be seen in the back round with the flourishing basil plant.
Strudwick’s works were inspired by musical pieces and poems.  Many of his works of art have a musical correlation.  His style was unique, and once he discovered his style, he never altered it.  His works show an Italian link, although Strudwick studied in London and had never been to Italy.  Toward the end of his career, the style of paintings that people preferred had changed, resulting in a loss of interest of his paintings.  Strudwick quit producing paintings, even though he lived for another thirty years.  During this time he started a painting, but deliberately never finished it, to represent the quick end of his career and his confusion.

"William Blake's Art and Poetry"

Connect to my fellow classmates blog by clicking here!

The blog "William Blake's Art and Poetry" by Taylor Rice, Kevin Kaufman, Timmy Nguyen, and Hailey Milne, analyses many of William Blake’s Art and Poetry.
I like that the blog is very simple, and easy to navigate. The background is not distracting and the light texts boxes make the text easy to read. My favorite part about this blog is all of the unique paintings and videos. I learned from this blog that William Blake paints. I find that so interesting and special that he has multiple talents. The painting “The Ancient of Days,” strikes my attention due to the dark colors. The painting is a mystery to me, and it makes me think. I like when something is deep and makes me have to think about the meaning of it. After looking at the painting for a while I conclude that this man is somewhat of a god, and is standing on the sun. The man seems to be very powerful and has control of many things. The thing that struck me was this painting, and I ended up researching what “The Ancient of Days,” meant. I found out that he is a god in the old testament. This man is commonly distinguished by his long white beard. Which usually leads people to think he is old, but his age is never mentioned in the old testament.
I believe this blog is important because it gives a lot of good information to someone who knows nothing about William Blake. It provides you details about many of Blake’s poems and helps you understand them. This blog also shows you art created by William Blake himself. I think this blog is also a good one to see if you do know a little bit about Blake. I did know about William Blake but it still gave me more information about him and I learned about “The Ancient of Days,” painting, which is really cool to me. This blog teaches readers about some of William Blake’s poems, such as; “The Tyger,” “The fly,” “The Schoolboy,” and more. I enjoyed learning about William Blake through this blog.

John Keats Attitude Towards Nature

Visit This Site for the poem "Ode to Autumn"

The poem about is called "Ode to Autumn" By John Keats. This poems helps support Keats love for nature and how he incorporates it into his poems. In “Ode to Autumn,” Keats explains autumns relationship with the sun. Keats also explains how autumn brings flowers, and fruits, and the beautiful songs that autumn produces. I believe that “Ode to Autumn,” helps support the idea that Keats attitude toward nature is a good one. In this poem is explains a lot of beautiful sights, feelings, and sounds, which makes me believe that Keats loves nature. Keats uses senses so that readers can relate to the scene and somewhat feel apart of it all.
John Keats was apart of the Romanticism era which means he loves and appreciates nature. Nature is a huge part of being a romantic poet and often nature will somehow be apart of their poems. Keats love for nature is very simple compared to many of his fellow romantic poets. Keats describes nature exactly how he sees it or feels it. Nature is such a beautiful thing to Keats and describes it beautifully in his poetry, mainly using senses. Nature is a huge mystery to Keats and is dedicated to figuring out what he sees and hears. Other poets look for a deeper meaning in nature and they try to explain it, while Keats is just busy trying to simply describe what he sees. Byron is interested in the vigorous aspects of nature, while Coleridge thinks nature has a moral touch, while Shelley intellectualizes nature. All romantic poets have different aspects on what nature is and how they incorporates in their poems, but the main point is that all romantic poets are interested in nature itself. Keats love for nature shows up in his poems which paints a beautiful picture with words. The beautiful nature images in his poetry makes me feel like I have the ability to be there in the scene. Keats poems also make the natural objects have a life of their own, like they are living. John Keats did love nature and strived to portray it in his poetry.

Reading Response #3

The article “Keats and Chaucer” by F. E. L. Priestley analyses John Keats infatuation with the poet Geoffrey Chaucer. This article provides evidence of Keats’s interest in Chaucer as early as May 16, 1817. At first Keats doesn’t show any similarities to Chaucer, but then looks for poetic narration; often used in Chaucer’s style of poetry. In Keats earlier poems, such as, “Endymion,” he lacked character feelings, which were often used in Chaucer’s poetry. “Endymion,” showed no significant proof of similarities to Chaucer’s poems. Keats heard Hazlitt’s lecture on Chaucer in hopes to learn more about Chaucer’s style of poetry. Soon after attending Hazlitt’s lecture Keats began to write “Isabella.” Ghittern and swelt were both common words used by Chaucer, and nobody else, which were both found in Keats poem “Isabella.” Hazlitt’s lectures provided Keats with passages by Chaucer and Keats became encouraged to further study Chaucer. After Keats learned from Hazlitt’s lecture that Chaucer’s characteristic is intensity, he soon writes to his brother stating that he wants to achieve the same thing. It is apparent that “Isabella,” was influenced by Chaucer; Priestley writes “This was the first poem in which he had tried the detailed presentation of the feelings of a character; like signs of inner feeling; he tries unsuccessfully to imitate Chaucer’s superb ability to concentrate pathos into a simple speech.” “Isabella” shows more evident signs that the style of poetry used is based off of Chaucer. Keats used Chaucer’s narrative structure and starts to give emotions to characters. After Keats wrote “Isabella,” he still has interest in learning more about Chaucer. Keats could not understand many of his fellow poets writings; including Chaucer, so he began to learn Greek and Italian in order to successfully read those poems and continue his study on Chaucer. After learning those languages, he starts to notice “The contrast of the warm comfort within the storm without,” and begins to use this contrast in his own writing. Keats begins to write very visual, dark scenes. Keats wrote many letters to family members and other poets, in these letters it shows evidence of Keats interest in Chaucer. Keats interest was sentimental and therefore used many of Chaucer’s techniques in his own poetry. Chaucer had dramatic power and characterization power which Keats admired.

The idea that John Keats admires Geoffrey Chaucer is the main theme in the article “Keats and Chaucer.” Keats used many of the same techniques as Chaucer used in his poetry. I believe that this article supports the idea that Keats has interest in Chaucer, and provides evidence as well. As I read the poem “Isabella,” by John Keats I noticed the similarities to the famous poem “The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer. In the selection The Franklin’s Tale in The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote; “No one alive--it needs no arguing, But sometimes says or does a wrongful thing; Rage, sickness, influence of some malign, Star-constellation, temper, woe or wine, Spur us to wrongful words or make us trip. One should not seek revenge for every slip.” This portion of Chaucer’s poetry shows many emotions and feelings which Keats begins to use. As I read Keats earlier poem “Endymion,” I found rarely or no character emotion. I also found him to write very masculine and dark. Hazlitt recommends to Keats to start to use character emotion like that of Chaucer which is shown in Keats next poem “Isabella.” John Keats added emotions to his characters in his poem “Isabella,” which is commonly done by Geoffrey Chaucer. Stanza 30 of “Isabella,” John Keats writes; “She weeps alone for pleasures not to be; Sorely she wept until the night came on, And then, instead of love, O misery!” In the selection Isabella feels alone and is crying by herself because her lover Lorenzo is not with her anymore because her brothers killed him. She also says that she can not feel his love anymore and all she feels is misery. In this portion of the poem, I can see that Keats is beginning to use character emotions; which supports the article’s idea of Keats new technique. By Keats adding emotions to his characters, it helps readers understand and synthesis with the character. It also helps readers feel more attached and engaged to the poem. After all my research I agree with F. E. L. Priestley that John Keats admires Geoffrey Chaucer’s poetry and begins to show similarities to his style of poetry.