Poetry: John Keats

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all                                                                                               Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

–  John Keats (Ode on a Grecian Urn, Lines 49-50)
These lines are probably two of the most beautiful in English Literature. Written by John Keats, as the concluding lines of his poem, ‘Ode On A Grecian Urn’, they encompass all one needs to know on Earth. The purpose of today’s post is not to analyse said poem, but to elucidate how these lines can make life more beautiful on Earth.
Keats was one of the leading poets of the Romantic Movement in England, but received only posthumous acclaim for his work, having died at the young age of 25.  

I saw a sunflower yesterday. It was facing the sun, seeming to smile at it with dazed eyes. That is all a sunflower knows on Earth: to face the sun and share in its beauty. This has been the universal purpose of sunflowers throughout the passage of time, and this truth is beautiful. It is merely a small example of how Beauty embodies Truth and the latter the former.

If I consider life at large, the truth may not always seem beautiful, rather it often seems bitter. Where is the beauty is in the cold, hard, bitter truth? Does it even exist, or is it the antithesis of beauty? Often, the latter answer is preferred. But herein lies a case of mistaken identity, for the truth only seems bitter due to perception and lack of comprehension. John Keats, a Romantic poet, may have embodied the title of, ‘Romantic’, in the above quotation, but this seemingly Romanticised opinion, is in fact what we call the, ‘cold, hard, truth’.

The lack of correct perception of a circumstance, human being, environment, or object may cause it to seem unpleasant. But this unpleasantness is caused only due to human judgement. The swiftness with which one of us is able to identify the flaws in something is equivalent to incorrect perception. This is the reason Keats’s words may confound us. He merely laid down the facts of life in print, leaving room only for comprehension and interpretation. Keats, when privy to the fact that he was dying of consumption, smiled at the sound of an ordinary nightingale. He recognised its tender beauty, even in the truth of his grave situation. Furthermore, the only reason he could probably appreciate the beauty, was because he knew the truth.

“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”, is a common maxim. The truth is only as true as the beholder chooses to perceive it as. If I choose to perceive any situation as beautiful, that beauty will be true in my eyes. This will then become my guiding principle in life, making it all I need to know. Indeed, it is all I know. It is only the perception for which I have a choice.

The relationship between truth and beauty also speaks of a sensation essential for any activity in life: love. Without possessing love, one cannot perceive even the most opportune circumstance as beautiful; love makes one see the beauty in truth.

It is this aspect of Keats’s work which I admire most. It portrays the truth in a Romanticised way, but this Romanticism is the truth. Beauty lies not only in words, but also in the perception of ordinary truths we encounter in life.

– MayaSoul

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Preparedness

Sometimes I feel as though I am not prepared for a day of life. Every event of such unfortunate days seems to have a personal vendetta against me. But on the other hand, certain days present themselves as glistening waters permitting me to sail through.

Why this contrast? What is the reason for two equally sunny days with similar routines unfolding so differently? The answer is probably lack of preparedness. But here the doubt surfaces: one can be equally prepared for the same routine on two days, hence why the difference?

The solution lies in the core of the word, ‘preparedness’. What really is this aggrandised word?

The preparation for both days may be analogous with respect to the day’s events; the external factors. Each factor may be perceived as a separate challenge with a certain solution. This solution is imprinted in the day’s routine, hence acquires the guise of preparedness.

But why then, does an identical day sometimes spring upon me, the feeling of unreadiness? Herein lies the infallible hurdle every person must cross before being able to progress. Preparedness is not merely being ready for a day’s events. It is the ability to ensure my core’s strength regardless of the day. If this is achieved, every day will resemble that which I am prepared for: the readiness will be constantly strong regardless of the day’s varied challenges. It is but one virtue; constant with every passing day. Preparedness does not follow the whims of daily routines. It is one pillar that, (if existing) stands firm in my core. Thus, a chronic series of ill-fate on a day is probably a result of mistaking real preparedness for fickle imitations of it.

Therefore, being prepared is not merely anticipating the actions I may have to perform in a day. It is not a force driven by external factors; it is one driven by absolute inner will. It is the state of being ready for the series of days we call life.

– MayaSoul

Poem #5 – Hope

Hello everyone! Today’s post is a poem entitled, ‘Hope’. I will analyse it from the perspective with which I wrote it, however I look forward to hearing your views!

HOPE

Hope was the flame
White, dazzling and blinding.
Eyed from a distance,
It was light.

Kissed when it did my skin,
It burned.
It burned not the skin itself
Burn it did the despair.

The single flame
Overcame, proved itself,
As it conquered all I knew.

It held me captive,
In a pool of blinding light.
The dazzle was scorching
It scorched out the misery.

The poem explores the nature of hope. It is described as a dazzling white flame, blinding one’s vision when viewed from a distance. Despite the fact that it a single flame, it is so strong that it impedes the narrator’s vision to the extent where the darkness is no longer visible.

When the flame comes in contact with the narrator’s skin, it does not present a warm outlet for worry or fear. It does not assuage the narrator’s anxieties. Instead, it burns the narrator. Hope, therefore is not described as a source where one can find shelter and comfort. Hope burns the despair from the narrator’s body, giving him the illusion of being charred. However, it does not char the narrator. It scorches out from the narrator every strand of anxiety he may harbour. It overcomes his senses and succeeds in changing his way of life. Initially, despair was a part of the narrator’s life. With the introduction of hope, which is the opposite of despair, it aims to eliminate the despair from the narrator’s life.

This is a painful albeit positive process. Hope forces the narrator to surrender his thoughts of misery and adopt a new lifestyle conceived of hope. It extracts from the narrator the will to do this, thus expelling the despair the narrator was initially accustomed to.

Therefore, hope is that one force, even the slightest ray of which has the potential to overcome every iota of despair in an individual.

– MayaSoul