Monday, 22 September 2014

Pot of Poetry: From Lines to Fanny, by John Keats

It's Romantic month in Classics Club. When I first heard it, I instantly thought of him - Keats. For me, he is the definition of Romantic Poetry. His poems give some sort of peace and serenity to its reader.

Some months ago I believe, I stumbled upon his lines to Fanny. The first three lines were okay, but the fourth..

Touch has a memory. O say, love, say,
What can I do to kill it and be free
In my old liberty?

The idea that you can remember a touch, that not your brain, but your skin, your muscles, can remember a touch, is lovely. It's not only your brain that refuses to forget, but all parts if you, all parts that have experienced love.

But the next few lines are even more lovely.

When every fair one that I saw was fair
Enough to catch me in but half a snare,
Not keep me there:

The 'half a snare' part is brilliant. There are those times when you see people and you are physically or mentally or in some other way attracted to them. But because you have someone else that you love, they don't 'keep you there'. You don't fall for those people because you can't forget the one that truly has your heart entrapped.

What I really love about this poem, or just Keats in general, is the simplicity of the language, of the wording. It makes it sound so sincere, so innocent. You don't smell deception. In some Renaissance poems, sometimes you smell flattery in the air, maybe because the words are complicated, or because the poet forces the rhyme. Sometimes (not always, but sometimes) the poems don't 'flow' naturally, and you think that the poet is trying to deceive you. But this poem doesn't feel that way.

I am not good at explaining poetry. I think I can never do Keats justice whenever I talk about him. I must stop now before I talk more nonsense.

If I can find the time before the end of the month, I'd like to share something from Poe, another poet that I like.

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