"To Autumn" by John Keats - Ode

Keat’s To Autumn doesn’t seem to have any deeper meaning. It is merely a vivid description of autumn. The images Keat presents are beautiful but tangible and concrete. An Ode is hard to describe since there’s no formal definition and there are many types. Usually, Odes contains a strophe an antistrophe and an epode.

Keat’s first stanza describes the fertility of autumn, an odd attribute for the season. Overflowing flowers, “plump” hazel nuts, swelling grouds and ripe apples create a sense of bountifulness and excess. In the next stanza, the furious activity and ripening of the fruit slows down. Autumn becomes a reaper. The movement of this stanza is also considerably slower. The fields are “half-reap’d” and the “last oozings” are coming from the apple cider. Stanza three introduces spring and like the appearance of summer in stanza one helps signify the movement of the time from beginning to end. Keats, in a way, divides Autumn into three parts.

3 comments:

Lauren said...

I do not completely agree that this poem is only describing autumn because it describes autumn with emotion. He describes it as beautiful but also somber. He says “Where are the songs of Spring?” because Spring has such a different feeling. Spring symbolizes birth while Fall symbolizes death. “Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn” because they die in the fall. This contrasts to the absent songs of spring.

Michaela said...

I think that in writing an ode to autumn, he wants to demonstrate the beauty and, I guess you could say, the worth of autumn. While the poem does contain beautiful imagery, like Lauren, I believe it is more than that. Autumn does symbolize death, so I think Keats tries to divert that more negative connotation and show the beauty and merit of autumn and why it is just as good as spring.
Though the poem has a mellow, slow pace and speaks of how things come to an end in the fall, it draws connections between the two seasons. Just as spring has flowers, autumn has the fruits and bounty of the harvest, and Keats reassures the autumn that "thou hast thy music too." Even in the third stanza, which speaks most about death, Keats continues to use words like "bloom" to describe fall events and mentions the "full-grown lambs" that were born in the spring. So I guess I'm wondering, does it convince you?

kerrym7 said...

I also agree that this poem does more than simply describe autumnn. Not only does Keats describe with emotion, he personifies the season. He "conspires within him how to load and bless." I agree with Michaela that although often speaks about death in the third stanza, the use of the word "bloom" shows the oppurtunities that fall has to offer. The "wind lives or dies" and "swallows gather in the sky." Fall is not only a time of death, but also a time of preparation for the future seasons.

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