Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Some Keats

A virtual friend pointed out today that Some Silverstein was not the most user-friendly post. The original title, in fact, was a bit confusing: "First It's Keats, then It's Silverstein." I was essentially letting you readers know that although I love Shel Silverstein, John Keats will always be my favorite poet. To be sure, his poems are tough to get through; some of them are pages and pages long. But he is the author of my favorite poem in all the world. I will not post the whole thing for you here, as it is 21 pages. Just know that it is my favorite.

It is called Lamia, and here are a few lines of verse that especially speak to my soul:
Let spear-grass and the spiteful thistle wage
War on his temples. Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel's wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-personed Lamia melt into a shade.

Can you guess what it is about? It is about "cold philosophy" and how it destroys the beauty of the natural world. To me, it is a poem about science and art, and how they are, in some ways, at odds with each other. That juxtaposition resonates with me because I often feel I am at odds with myself. As I mentioned to a friend the other day, I think my brain is pretty much split down the middle between science and structure and art and disarray. It's hard for me to negotiate the two . . . Or maybe I don't have to?

Agh. This post turned into something I didn't intend. I may write more about it later, though, so . . . Look forward to that.

Thing I'm thankful for: my cognition class. It's loads of intellectual fun. :)


Blogger Carrie said...

I don't really think they are at odds. (Though those arty types can get a little self-important sometimes...)

"Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars, mere globs of gas atoms. Nothing is 'mere'. I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination, stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light. A vast pattern, of which I am a part... What is the pattern or the meaning or the why?

"It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little more about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?"

* Richard Feynman, Footnote in The Feynman Lectures on Physics

5:30 AM  
Blogger Gretchen Alice said...

I'm an e.e. cummings girl myself. :)

8:32 AM  
Blogger cardlady said...

You are so DEEP, SARA! I love that you are enjoying your cognitive psych class. I am loving my art classes.

9:56 AM  

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