J. Keats utilizes a vast array of vocabulary and diction in Ode to autumn. Yet with these layers upon layers of vocabulary comes a disintegration of the rawest form of human being: Emotion. Sometimes, the best form of emotion is a heartfelt prose without metaphors or imagery. It is a tool every writer learns to use, the ability to convey emotion. Loss, joy, anger, writers are able to find a way to express their emotion through the thickest of metaphors. If the writer is not able to convey a certain emotion, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of writing a poem? Www.dictionary.com defines a poem as:
Poem Pronunciation Key (p m)
1.A verbal composition designed to convey emotions in a vivid and imaginative way, characterized by the use of language chosen for its sound and suggestive power and by the use of literary techniques such as meter, metaphor, and rhyme.
Therefore, theoretically speaking, this isn’t a poem at all, just a rhyming prose with intelligent words strewn together.
The choice of presenting this poem’ as a descriptive ode was not a very wise decision for J. Keats. When a poem is solely based upon describing a situation or an image, it is difficult to come across as emotional. Descriptive poems are often considered as the black sheep’ of poetry since it does not express an emotion or a belief. While J. Keats is praising autumn in ode to autumn, he does not add in a variable of personality. It does come across as he enjoys autumn, but this emotion is a mere afterthought compared to the theme of autumn being a beautiful season. I am not a fan of the style of writing in Ode form so this poem didn’t have a very good chance to please me to begin with. If John Keats wrote this poem as a sonnet or perhaps a more personal style, it would be a much better poem in my eyes.
J. Keats writes in a style that bridges the gap between Shakespeare and modern English, although it leans mostly towards Shakespearean influences. Personally, I do not find Old English conveys emotion quite well. Even when I read greats like Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, it doesn’t affect me as much as modern writers. Perhaps it’s because I’m not familiar with the language and it is not something I can comprehend on the first read. It is understandable as a 17th century writer that J. Keats wrote in Shakespearean terms although perhaps if Mr. Keats replaced the Shakespearean language with some modern English, I’d be able to appreciate this poem a bit more.
Overall, Ode to Autumn is not a horrible poem, it’s just lacking in the section that I believe is the most important in poetry, Emotion. If J. Keats edited this poem and wrote it in a different style, I’d be able to enjoy it more. Sadly, John Keats died in Rome at the age of 25, on February 23, 1821.