John Keat Poems


Strong imagery is the basis of structure in many poems. Literal and metaphorical imagery words aid the reader with interpreting the main ideal of the poem. Ode to a Grecian Urn, Ode to a Nightingale and On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer are three of John Keats’ poems which contain this descriptive imagery to give structure and meaning. Keats makes the decorative language as the medium for the passion that he holds for his subject.


Ode to a Grecian Urn is a poem in which Keats makes imagery explain the physical aspects of an urn as well as the message behind its appearance. When explaining the physical attributes of the urn Keats describes its beauty by comparing the urn to places such as“…Temp” and “…the dales of Arcady” in line seven. Imagery such as lines nineteen and twenty state “She cannot fade, through thou hast not thy bliss, / For ever wilt though love, and she be fair”. These lines colorfully relay the message that the urn is infinite and the image of life that is presented on it will never commence. This urn is presented to have life and beauty displayed. Scenery such as mountains, forests and a “little town by the river” (38) help to give the image of the quaintness presented on the urn.


Keats’s Ode to a Nightingale contains imagery that runs parallel to the actions of the author. Lines seventeen through twenty are an example of decorative language used to explain the author’s means of disappearing into the forest. “With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, / And purple-stained mouth; / That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, / And with thee fade away into the forest dim.” The story is affected by this flamboyant transition because it settles the reader into the narrator’s new point of reference. Being in the dark with only the nightingale’s note at his ear brings forth his feelings of death. The speaker starts to elaborately talk about his desire “to cease upon the midnight with no pain... (54)”. His lavish description of the bird fleeing also helps to explain his refute towards his state of being.


The importance of books to experience the world could not be relayed without flattering language. On First Looking into Chapman’s Home by Keats is an example of this language. It is understood that he is speaking highly of traveling metaphorically through books because of the first line. The line states, “Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,” which stands for the world of art. Using gold as part of the description of literature, it helps to emphasis the importance of reading. He speaks of seeing “kingdoms,” “western islands” and when a “new planet swims into his ken” (3/3/10). These descriptions of the many places he’s experienced help to explain the vastness of the material in books.


The basis of John Keats’ poems is the pictorial aspect. He has imagery to help emphasis the importance of his message and feelings. Without drastic words of imagery there would be no solidity to the form of a poem. Imagery is a trigger to the audience to help understand the feeling of the poem.