in the poeticish mood

Jessica and I watched Bright Star tonight. It was lovely, but I must warn you that it is tragic. I assumed that Jessica knew Keats's biography (I have no idea why) and didn't bother to let her know that he died prematurely at age twenty five, separated from the woman he loved and believing himself to be a failure as a poet. Today, despite only having four years worth of published works, he is remembered as one of the most beloved poets of the English language and one of the key figures in the Romantic movement. 
Why is it that artists are generally unappreciated during their life-times?  I wonder now who our unappreciated artists are.

This is my favorite selection from his work (although the line "A thing of beauty is a joy forever" is a classic as well). It is from the central passage of Ode on a Grecian Urn

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.

a late version of "Bright Star," written for Fanny Brawne 
I don't honestly think that I can ever honestly hope to produce the caliber of art that Keats did, especially in poetry.  I have a few poetic turns of phrases now and then, but nothing which compares to the beauty of the English Romantics.  I am much more at home in prose, anyhow. I did however find Keats' commentary on his imaginative process to be quite interesting though: 

  • A Poet is the most unpoetical of any thing in existence; because he has no Identity – he is continually in for – and filling some other Body – The Sun, the Moon, the Sea and Men and Women who are creatures of impulse are poetical and have about them an unchangeable attribute – the poet has none; no identity – he is certainly the most unpoetical of all God's Creatures.
  • I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart's affections and the truth of Imagination – What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth – whether it existed before or not – for I have the same Idea of all our Passions as of Love they are all in their sublime, creative of essential Beauty
  • It appears to me that almost any man may like the spider spin from his own inwards his own airy citadel.
  • Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by singularity, it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.

On My Mind: I warn you that my love of poetry will probably spill over here again soon. Already, Jess and I have discussed the Brownings, e.e. cummings, Langston Hughes, and T. S. Eliot. Let's just say that I am a great lover of poetry, though I admit that I don't fully understand it the way that my heart understands a story.

Life Plan of the Hour: Learn to snap with my right hand. Yes, that is all I have at present.

No comments:

Post a Comment