The colour of appearances

Driving West, Ed Sheeran on the radio singing songs he has written and I find that the leaves simply change colour through the course of his Afterglow. How very apt. I cannot think of a more perfect song for the changing hues of foliage, leaving Pennsylvania, the sun laying claim to the west, like a glittering exhibitionist .. and then Lake Erie with her choppy waters. A thought crosses my mind, an acronym I knew for the great Lakes – HOMES; never imagined I would one day see the water that makes up all of that E. Who knew vowels could contain so much water. Here, it is autumn and the leaves are beginning to hoard hue.

Stop the clocks, it's amazing
You should see the way the light dances off your head
A million colours of hazel, golden and red
Saturday morning is fading
The sun's reflected by the coffee in your hand
My eyes are caught in your gaze all over again (Ed Sheeran, Afterglow)

Further on in this song, Sheeran sings of Iron and Wine, the stage name of singer-songwriter Samuel “Sam” Ervin Beam whose songs are actually the stuff of poetry. I like Iron and Wine; that Ed Sheeran listens to him, is heartening. Perhaps it informs his own poetry and he speaks for both of them when he says “There’s no better way to get your point across than to put it to a beautiful song”. The sign made me smile.

At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio

Sam Beam too has sung songs of Autumn and I have excerpted some of his brilliant lyrical poetry, because I like it.

There are times that walk from you like some passing afternoon
Summer warmed the open window of her honeymoon
And she chose a yard to burn but the ground remembers her
Wooden spoons, her children stir her Bougainvillea blooms

There are things that drift away like our endless, numbered days
Autumn blew the quilt right off the perfect bed she made
And she's chosen to believe in the hymns her mother sings
Sunday pulls its children from the piles of fallen leaves

(Passing Afternoon from the album 'Our Endless Numbered days' 2004)

It is easy to be inspired by Autumn, our consciousness of the colour of senescence, the passage of time through the hue of everything that the light makes delightful ..

Dappled moments caught in the weft 
of the carpet like splashes of colour
and I noticed a mimosa in the drink.
The outdoors drenched in fresh hues
of rain and light danced a myriad ways
to red. Yellowing canopies little
thirst for the rambunctious energy
of green so the grove shimmered
all shades through that late afternoon.
Now that I think about it, laid thick
onto those off coloured regrets were
spent sentiments, a dilution of resolve,
the death rattle of a fading of dreams.
What did we absorb to reflect so?
Simply a mirror, the land, sky, you, I ..

davina e. solomon,
Pennsylvania 2021

Autumn is a time for thoughtful retreat. There is a reason why nature wills itself to sleep, it is simply the absence of light. I never experienced such a season in the tropics, life is brazenly bright in those places where people usually have sunny dispositions and write poetry to the monsoons and harvests, mostly.

Just in case you are wondering about the science and why we think we see leaves reflect green, researchers are struggling to explain this still. Chloroplasts use the energy of green (at least 90% of it) and there could be other structures of the leaf cell that help reflect this colour.

Given the noise of light that reaches the leaves, or even those shaded in the undergrowth, the leaf photosynthetic apparatus tries its utmost to absorb similar wavelengths of light and that which it receives at differing rates. The photosynthetic machinery has evolved ‘ not for maximum efficiency but rather for an optimally smooth and reliable output’. [1] The plant system aims for stability, not system efficiency which, I like to think, is the hallmark of the natural world. (I wrote earlier of the inefficiencies described in the wing -planform of the dragonfly).

Other pigments that accumulate in the leaf are also responsible for the multiple hues which we can observe in plants during Autumn. Yet, why we see colour the way we do still needs to be investigated further. Unlike in many other mammals, trichromacy evolved in humans, i.e. red, green, and blue colour vision, possibly for foraging, social signalling or through evolutionary constraint. [2]

I am intrigued by the change in colours and how the hues we observe, give meaning to nature and to life or perhaps, it is we who ascribe colour to situations in myriad ways. Even research hopes to explain this someday, until then, we have only poems.




Wetland Haiku

Here are some Haiku I posted at my Instagram handle. I photographed the plants while on a walk in a marshland.

Dark, red rum cherries 
of summer, drip bittersweet.
The heart remembers.
Rose-mallow unfurls.
Lady leaves her parasol
in Eden's bower.
Thick rain lashed burdock.
The sun will hurl a rainbow
at senescent sky.
Long myths of pokeweed.
Healing colours of marshes,
are poison berries.

Seize the day !

At breakfast one day ~ a friend taught me the art of poaching eggs the right way. It requires that you sieve off the very watery white before you poach the remainder of the yolk and  white in boiling water. She poached the perfect egg while I only made the crepe and assembled it. Team work !

Quick edit ~ had to format the poem 😬 posting again!

They heard the sun rise 
in the crack of a shell

as the day's aspirations
spilled onto a strict griddle

and sometimes the sun simply
cocoons itself in a fever,

poached in the liquor of dreams
of yesterday but not today,

for they scramble up the momentous
orbs, defining time in the ribboning

of yellows and whites until it congeals
into the brilliance of light on a plate.

They call it breakfast.
What injustice a word can do.

Simply Saturday !

A simple poem today about simple things, I couldn’t think of much to write, except brunch and dinner. Aren’t Saturdays meant to be a balance of slow and beautiful … like a diamondback Terrapin ? We had an amazing day but it was the food that punctuated it, in the deliciousness of happy exclamations. There was boiled corn in the salad and that, my friend, can be the sweetest addition to anything that is glazed in a honey, mustard, apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil dressing.

Mango and avocado happily lettuce eat corn cumcumbered in chicken and some flashy tomatoes. Handful nuts, a great salad topping make !
The morning floated by on rain 
that rose in mist from warm earth;
the tea wafted from cups like it was
looking for metaphors above the brew.

Shakshouka graced our breakfast table
in the spirit of the Maghreb
and the little red dish was simply
the pillow talk of eggs wondering at
the pointillism of yellow and green peppers.

Then time flew by in conversations,
that conjured blithely from seasoned laughter
until someone called, asking for Jason,
but none of us knew anyone called Jason,
so we all got serious about planning supper.

Saturday is lazy and daft,
but a splendid chef!
Salad graced our dinner table
in the spirit of gratitude for sharing
a meal in the sweetness of mangoes.

Cornucopia poured generously
onto that platter, awarding us
a rainbow in July ! Colour ...
is what it must feel to be alive
Before Shakshouka
And Shakshouka, After.

I am grateful for all the people that make my life beautiful and make me smile. I hope the weekend brings happiness to everyone !

The Age of Aquarius

Social media was my Achilles heel for quite a while. I always wondered, what need I had for virtual connections. Friends, family, colleagues are flesh and blood, as are even strangers in the city. The pandemic changed that. Creating a virtual friends network online, engaging with people I have never known before or even met, was something new. I follow an amazing creative community on Instagram besides tons of my ex students, friends, family etc. It’s a great network for me on the web, since I use very little, the other social media platforms. It took some learning though, moving out of my comfort zone and feeling confident about posting poems; I am no shrinking violet but displaying poetry on social media was quite disconcerting at first, not that I have issues with this at my blog (or blogs) but Instagram  is another animal. It was through sheer trial and error of trying to understand the logic behind following, followers, likes, building engagement, hashtags, target audience etc [1] that I have arrived at thinking at how useful this platform is, not as it would be for an influencer or for those marketing merchandise, but for the sole purpose of tapping into the creative hive, so to speak and for an authentic engagement. I think, we encounter all sorts, those that are unfriendly in the ‘real world’ and those that are affable in the virtual. Contrary to claims made about social media (and I admit, I almost got off it, being disillusioned in some part by the superficiality I encountered at times), I think it helped instill discipline into my writing as I took it seriously in the company of others that truly enjoy their own engagement with their art. I believe some of the most amazing people I have met on Instagram are those that create, share their work, knowledge and talent for no credit whatsoever. This is exactly what they must mean when they say humanity is moving into the Age of Aquarius*.

In the Greek tradition, the constellation of Aquarius came to be represented simply as a single vase from which a stream poured down to Piscis Austrinus. The name in the Hindu zodiac is likewise kumbha “water-pitcher” (Wikipedia)
Picture: “Aquarius, Piscis Australis & en:Ballon Aerostatique”, plate 26 in Urania’s Mirror, a set of celestial cards accompanied by A familiar treatise on astronomy … by Jehoshaphat Aspin. London. Astronomical chart, 1 print on layered paper board : etching, hand-colored ~’s_Mirror-Aquarius,_Piscis_Australis&_Ballon_Aerostatique.jpg
(In the Public Domain)Source:

For those not familiar with the symbolism of Astrology, Pisces (symbol of fish; think early Christians **) was the age of belief systems. It appears, we still run the gamut of belief, from self absorption masquerading as self belief to those beliefs embedded in the artifice and edifice of our times or within our various echo chambers. It has been said that the Age of Aquarius is meant to be visionary, rebellious, innovative and eccentric, humanitarian, a disruption of the system. If these are the buzzwords for the coming age, then would it not be great to be a part of it? The internet social media platforms with their promise of an extensive social connectivity fit right into this theme, given, they remain humanitarian, inclusive and uplifting. They will hopefully inspire innovation not simply in technology but in a change of mindset to allow for pluralistic endeavour beyond tribal sensibilities. This Aquarian vision should also slowly but steadily help re-evaluate the widgets of materialism, to morph into what are other than private granaries or exclusive pharaonic pyramids so to speak. Presently, the world appears quite far from this ideal but it seems to be headed there, at least in its Utopian futuristic technology.

Having imagined the Age of Aquarius as waking up to this transformed outlook in the reconfiguration of patterns, I’ve tried to parse these very ‘lofty thoughts’ in a poem 🙂 🙂 Herein, I have alluded to the four elements of the Zodiac: fire, earth, air, and water and we all have some bit of each. The Pileated Woodpecker, I recognise as a bird quite fitting the new Tech ideal, in that the holes it leaves in dead wood, are uniquely rectangular, like the black hole of a hand held device 🙂 It is a striking bird and we had the pleasure of seeing one, up close recently, but thought it better to watch and listen than take a picture.

Source Woodpeckers: Wikipedia

Source holes :

In the Age of Aquarius

Reluctant to the invitation of sleep,
for yesterday's spent force
was patterned in harlequin dreams,
the kind that float onto your pillow
you leave in a dripping sweat.
And there, in the age of self belief,
in hastily drawn testaments
of portraiture, we were all exhorted
to homogeneously flicker in fire,
wallow in icy water, raise dust
in a hot dry wind, covet
the dead as does sodden Earth,
iron out the wrinkles and
stretch the taut attitude.
Life, simply imagery, the miracle
of the seven loaves and fish.
But it's the lustre of dawn, that is
a soft caress on every dark patch,
the interplay of light in the leaves
as they glisten to speak a language
the spirit still struggles to understand.
There's the pileated woodpecker,
a rebel on his patch
of spent mottled tree trunk,
punctuating the silence
in a Morse code racket
envisioning a telegram through
to the Age of Aquarius.
Now, if these syllables should flow
to spark fire in the soul of humanity,
then we would all be fiery risings,
fluidly flow to feel like water,
think up the momentum
of the wind, strop to the rhythm
of a steadfast fecund Earth,

Edit: I substituted disturbing with punctuating; need to work on my patience with editing. I’m too in a hurry to post as soon as a post is done.

Some interesting reads:
[1]Coursera, a MOOC that started on very Aquarian principles, has some interesting courses on using digital apps for social media visuals, designing Instagram and Facebook stories, even courses on social media marketing and social media management.

The University of California runs a free course on the strategy of content marketing ~

The University of Virginia runs a course on personal branding. Content for both courses is offered for free without the certification ~

Here, Susan Miller, who has been described as fashion’s favourite astrologer by Vogue, makes predictions for a new century at her website, Astrology Zone. It’s always interesting how astrologers see it.

** The Yugas or World-ages are an important part of Hindu thought and Vedic Astrology. Here David Frawley examines the view of the Yugas set forth by Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda and his guru Sri Yukteswar. I particularly enjoyed his description of cultures along the lines of ascending and descending, cultural and societal inertia or cultures that are deemed immature, materialistic and sensate oriented. It is another perspective on existence.

In the poem:

Miracle of the seven loaves and fish: In Christianity, the Feeding the multitude is two separate miracles of Jesus reported in the Gospels. The first miracle, the “Feeding of the 5,000”, is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels[1] (Matthew 14-Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6-Mark 6:31-44; Luke 9-Luke 9:12-17; John 6-John 6:1-14). The second miracle, the “Feeding of the 4,000”, with 7 loaves of bread and fish, is reported by Matthew 15 (Matthew 15:32-39) and Mark 8 (Mark 8:1-9), but not by Luke or John. (Source: Wikipedia)

In Western astrology and Sidereal astrology four elements are used: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. In ancient astrology, triplicities were more of a seasonal nature, so a season was given the qualities of an element, which means the signs associated with that season would be allocated to that element. (Source~Wikipedia)

The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood. The nest holes these birds make offer crucial shelter to many species including swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens. (Source:

John Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn and other ductile conversations

Source: WIkipedia
Tracing of an engraving of the “Sosibios Vase”, a Neo-Attic (Hellenistic style of sculpture that began in the 2nd Century B.C.E.) marble volute krater (Vase used for the dilution of wine with water in Ancient Greece), signed by Sosibios (a Greek Sculptor), by John Keats, as he saw it in Henry Moses’s “A Collection of Antique Vases, Altars, Paterae” [2]

It was in May 1819 that John Keats probably wrote his “Ode on a Grecian Urn” published anonymously in the art magazine, the Annals of Fine Arts in January1820. This is a modern and original Ekphrasis based on his interpretation of a Grecian Urn. Keats, the Romantic poet, had access to prints of Grecian Urns at the office of Benjamin Robert Haydon, a British painter who specialised in grand historical pictures. His poem is also said to have been partly inspired by the Sosibios Vase [1] I revisited this poem today, since I wished to attempt an ekphrastic exercise based on a photo I took recently of a ductile cast iron trench grate. It was the word ductile that provoked me to photograph it in the first place, having had no prior knowledge of grates except that I am impressed by their solidity. I have a strong affinity for iron; my kitchen is testament to this, replete with cast iron pots, woks, griddles and skillets. 

” A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; ” wrote John Keat in his “from Endymion” [3] I have always admired trench grates, the beauty in their form, the markings on them, delighted as I am to see many of those along the streets and avenues in Manhattan sport stamps of ‘Made in India’. This was an attempt to redeem the solidity of that which bears the tread of a million embodied souls. Trench grates are made of gray cast iron, ductile cast iron and cast aluminium. Ductile cast iron is in fact excellent in areas where there is fairly heavy load. They are able to withstand sudden shock by bending and absorbing extreme or sudden impact. They also exhibit corrosive resistance and are able to outlive the very pavements they are set into. Load strength is in the grate itself [4]. Now, an ‘Ode’ is a fairly elaborate lyric poem, with strict form and structure, exalting in praise an event or an entity. I thought of writing an Ode to the Ductile Cast Iron Grate besides an analysis of Keats’ poem.

Ductile cast iron grate

Keats created his own ode to scenes that he imagined painted on a Grecian Urn. His ode is to figures that appear immortal to him on this ancient artifact, that are in fact imprisoned in a moment. His poem isn’t like a Greek Ode, with its rigid strophe, antistrophe, and epode. In his own unique style, it is made up of five stanzas of ten lines each, employing iambic pentameter, the rhyming scheme of ABAB, with the final Miltonic Sestet (1st and 5th stanzas CDEDCE, 2nd stanza CDECED, and 3rd and 4th stanzas CDECDE) varying through the stanzas [5] The first four lines reveal an adherence to classical symmetry in poetry and the next six are of the asymmetry in Romantic Poetry. Some of the literary devices he used are syzygy, metaphor, apostrophe, rhetorical questions, paradox and alliteration. This is what Walter Jackson Bate wrote in his”The Stylistic Development of Keats”,  about Keats’ poetic style: Keats’s metre reflects a conscious development in his poetic style. The poem contains only a single instance of medial inversion (the reversal of an iamb in the middle of a line), which was common in his earlier works. However, Keats incorporates spondees in 37 of the 250 metrical feet. Caesurae are never placed before the fourth syllable in a line. The word choice represents a shift from Keats’s early reliance on Latinate polysyllabic words to shorter, Germanic words. In the second stanza, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, which emphasizes words containing the letters “p”, “b”, and “v”, uses syzygy, the repetition of a consonantal sound. The poem incorporates a complex reliance on assonance, which is found in very few English poems. Within “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, an example of this pattern can be found in line 13 (“Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d”) where the “e” of “sensual” connects with the “e” of “endear’d” and the “ea” of “ear” connects with the “ea” of “endear’d”.[1a]  I had to read this thrice to understand the meaning of medial inversion and then I pondered if Keats stuttered his way through spondees, then he may have never been able to write “Ode on a Grecian Urn” without it possibly disintegrating to pieces in his mind, what with his lungs struggling for breath and all. Is it any wonder that I chose a Ductile Iron Trench Grate for my Ekphrasis ! In any case, I do appreciate them both, the artist that builds/creates and the academic that parses it out.

Keats ends his ode with the famous lines, “beauty is truth; truth, beauty – that is all / Ye know on Earth, and all ye need to know”, which according to some begs the question of the relationship between the aesthetic beauty of art and the ethical truth of poetry. Plato in his ‘The Republic’ argues that “the illusions of artwork may be so convincing that they are mistaken for the real thing, and this is potentially dangerous.” Ekphrasis, operating as writing for art, also exists in the knowledge of failure that the poet can never appropriate all of the nuances and meaning that the artist may have communicated in his/her work, and, perhaps even more dangerous, is that the poet may attribute his/her own meaning or dialogue to the work of art, which therefore may distort the viewer’s opinion of the work of art [6] Do we not all subscribe to the third century proverb “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” that first appeared printed in “Love’s Labor’s Lost by William Shakespeare” published in 1588 as,

“Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise:
Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye,
Not utter’d by base sale of chapmen’s tongues.” [7]

As for authorship and how a poet construes meaning from artwork in an ekphrastic exercise, I would feel the world appears to revolve around borrowed opinions, rehashed aphorisms placed there by our own subjectivity within echo chambers. What of truth except that, like beauty, patterns of truth too are wrought about by the judgement of the eye. Each of us feels the truth a different way. Sometimes, I think the entire objective of my writing is to view the world like one would view the stars, from the equator, the tropics of Cancer or Capricorn or the poles and the truth would simply appear different each time [8] So, no, I don’t get Plato here but I do get Keats in his poem thus far. The romanticists make everything sound simply better; we appear to be in a universe of illusions, starting with the Grecian Urn.

When I revisited ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ [9][10], I was struck by the beauty of some of the lines that seemed to trigger a need to formulate my own version of an entity embodying or capturing the story engraved upon it. Is that not what the Urn does as an “unravish’d bride of quietness, a foster-child of silence and slow time, a Sylvan historian” lacking the voice and rhyme of a questioning poet who expects perhaps no answer to his rhetorical questions. 

What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

There is passion engraved onto the Urn and the poet’s imaginings. Passion is to poetry what a tempest is to the sea, volatile and uncontrollable, yet, the Urn is enduring in a moment framed for posterity. One would wonder here, given that John Keats suffered from a lack of vitality, with his struggle with tuberculosis, if his attempts at romanticising life is exactly that, framing the ephemeral in words, whether it is a fleeting love or a blazing hatred or a stony indifference. Keats was trained as an apothecary-surgeon, as well as licensed, he wasn’t educated in the corridors of a knowledge hierarchy but I was sad to learn that the poet George Byron (commonly known as Lord Byron) once likened Keats’ poems as a form of intellectual “Onanism,” a biblically polite way of referring to the poems as a form of mental masturbation [11] I had never known of that word until today, but I am happy to feel much more respect for a medical practitioner who simply taught himself poetry, well enough to become one of Britain’s leading romantic poets, subject to scathing reviews (especially from Byron who wrote thus about Keats to his own publisher ~ I think he took the wrong line as a poet, and was spoilt by Cockneyfying, and Suburbing, and versifying Tooke’s Pantheon and Lempriere’s Dictionary ~ upon learning of Keats’ death  ) I had to bring out my dictionary to parse the criticism in his. Keats succumbed to his illness at the ripe old age of 25. Nations do tend to build themselves on the bones of the dead that were quite invisible while they were alive, it has been claimed that John Keats died of disappointment over the poor literary reception his poems received [11] but I digress from his poem.

The second stanza bears upon the fact that the scene is frozen in time on the Urn, lovers and spirits amidst sweet melodies of unknown tone, yet Keats cheats death in his poem, cheats the vagaries of aging, the crippling of disease. His lovers achieve immortality on an Urn, where beauty and youth are unchanging, akin to a living death framed in an immortal moment.

Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

The third stanza is an allusion to the lack of vitality, the exhaustion of human love, possibly in the physical act of intercourse aimed at procreation.

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
         Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
         For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
         For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,
                For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
         That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d,
                A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

I think Keats simply wrote about the possibility of La petite mort or the little deathIt is an expression which means “the brief loss or weakening of consciousness” and in modern usage refers specifically to “the sensation of post orgasm as likened to death.” [12] Dr. Adrian Perkel states that: Some literature refers to this as Post-coital tristesse (PCT), the feeling of sadness, anxiety, agitation or aggression after sexual intercourse. Its name comes from New Latin postcoitalis and French tristesse, literally “sadness”. Many people with PCT may exhibit strong feelings of anxiety lasting from five minutes to two hours after coitus. The phenomenon is traced to the Greek doctor Galen, who wrote, “Every animal is sad after coitus except the human female and the rooster.” [13] I think, despite his Freudian take on La Petite Mort and a slight vilification of poets and philosophy (he may need to read this poem by Keats), Dr. Perkel tries to elucidate in addition, the neurobiological consequences of human coitus and ejaculation, in the loss of energy and potency for a man while it is a gain for a woman in terms of oxytocin, the desire to bond, the potential to reproduce. I am not sure, how the psychoanalysis of a sexually engaged homosexual couple would be viewed from the lens of the little death for that matter. I would also like to make the case for a woman, not as much post coital, but in gestating a foetus, in that, ongoing research has tested and supports the hypothesis that maternal immune systems respond to prior pregnancies as they do to macro-parasitic exposures. Simply put, pregnancy can increase production of Immunoglobulin E (IgE), an immune response more often directed towards parasite infections [14] So, the act of procreation is a little death for both, man and woman.

In the third stanza, I find, the poet has simply expressed an inner resonance in the timbre of his poem, the fever of passions, the immortality inherent in the act of defying consummation yet sadly, that immortality resides on an Urn made of clay. It is a paradox, that life begets life by foregoing it momentarily, at least in humans. In many other organisms, procreation is an affair with death, eg: the female octopus. Yet, despite everything, humans’ grander motivations appear driven through either denouncing or embracing their intrinsic biology, in the looming picture of genetic immortality. Do I digress from Keats’ “happy love! For ever panting and for ever young’ by dwelling thus on the consequences of “A burning forehead, and a parching tongue” ?

It is a different scene on the Urn that is described in the fourth stanza, of a heifer being led to a sacrificial altar that ends strangely in these lines:

And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.

Scholars have analysed this, meaning to be that the narrator of the poem does not understand the motivations of the people who lead the sacrifice or the significance of an empty town. Is it denuded of people simply because of lovers that did not carry forth the societal obligation to go forth and multiply? I believe the answer is in his innocence of the worldly and material at the age of 22 when he wrote this poem, his youth of unbridled idealism, romanticism although a body afflicted, this shows in stanza five:

When old age shall this generation waste,
         Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
         “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
                Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Truly, aware of his own mortality in 1819, his growing love for Fanny Brawne, the death of his brother, [15] the lack of vitality in leading a life like his peers perhaps, what more could have engendered those lines, but a passive resignation to the futility of pursuing immortality in the material, as he attempted in the transcendental, the poetic and the idealistic. I believe the prospect of imminent death has a strange way of magnifying life, devoid of the biological impulse to genetic perpetuation, in the fear of recognising perhaps that life is solely a singular spark, gone too soon with everything that took to build it up.

I enjoyed working through this poem by Keats and the biographical sketches I referenced. My poem though, is not an ode in the strict sense, except that it seeks to exalt metal, cast with the sole purpose of being immortal. It also tries to speak of the beauty that we encounter in others, our common humanity, the people that touch us, divided as we are by the firmament or our individual selves, in words that seem to synchronise in a poetic resonance to produce something of profound beauty. Perhaps, therein lies the purpose of poetry too, a transcendental language to communicate endlessly at a universal frequency of delicate nuance in timbre. For this poem, I turned to the Romanticists, not the empiricists. Do forgive me if the science is flawed. Enjoy the poem.

Ode to a cast iron grate :
Clove hitch of water in ductile conversations ...

Yours, a vantage view of firmament
soggy in the kinship of Nimbus
that pass muster of Zeus;
a cavalcade of percussionists,
in thunderous declarations, some 
simply swollen in an aftertaste of sorrow. 

Theirs, a lexicon streaming along 
the timbre of an Aeolian Babel 
forcing in rhythmic incantations
of rain, soaking the pavement,
ingress on the iron veneer, of your
solid hand that sieves sentiment.

These, the sounds of  sky, finally
stampeding, your burnished fate
as they merge in seeking, the same 
depths, falling to the same hell or heaven ...
There was beauty in the words 
they spun in the skies.

Those chinks in your armour, allow
passage to the sea, past your
mortified malleable melancholy.
Sentiment you say, stretched to loop
myriad clove hitches of water,
that cavort through gaps of passion, 

recessed into dark relief, your
piped soliloquies to the sea
spiriting ductile conversations ...
Your form will outlast the tread 
of a million embodied souls,
on the cast of your immortal rigor.

You, a Grecian aulist !
Does it matter what the clouds
sorrowed for? Does it matter
what they thundered at? 
They play you like reeds, seeking
the harmony of the sea.

You, the connoisseur of love !
Swallowing serenades, coursing 
in rivulets of emotion, foisted 
by sentinels of burgeoning passions, 
gurgling through you to an ocean 
which seems only to rise, in love or tears.


Aulist ~ An Aulist is one who plays the Aulos, an ancient Greek wind instrument, often translated as “flute” or “double flute”, it was usually a double-reeded instrument, and its sound was more akin to that of the bagpipes (Wikipedia)

Cumulonimbus clouds are also called thunderheads. Thunderheads produce rain, thunder, and lightning.

Aeolus ~ Greek God of wind

Zeus ~ Greek God of sky and thunder, king of the Gods

Literary devices (Source~

Alliteration ~ Alliteration involves the repetition in two or more nearby words of initial consonant sounds not necessarily the consonant letters; “heart high-sorrowful,” in the third stanza
Apostrophe ~ An apostrophe is a poetic phrase addressed to a subject who is either dead or absent, or to an inanimate object or abstract idea; “O Attic shape!’ in the last stanza, refers to its neo-attic style of sculpture

Metaphor ~ a comparison between two unlike things without the use of like or as;  “unravish’d bride of quietness,” he calls the urn in the first line of the first stanza

Paradox ~ self contradictory statements or phrases with an underlying logic to them; “Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve; / She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss”, as in the second stanza

Rhetorical questions ~ A question asked for effect or emphasis and where no real answer is expected; “What men or gods are these?” in the first stanza

Syzygy ~ In poetry, consonantal or phonetic syzygy is similar to the effect of alliteration, where one consonant is used repeatedly throughout a passage, but not necessarily at the beginning of each word (Wikipedia)  In the 2nd stanza, there is an emphasis on the letters ‘p’, ‘b’ and ‘v’ 



[1a]~Bate, Walter Jackson. The Stylistic Development of Keats. New York: Humanities Press, 1962 [1]








[9]Ode on a Grecian Urn, Original Poem ~