Diving Into The Lake

I have great respect for anyone who has taken the time to memorize a Keats poem and recite it in front of people.  Like I mentioned in my comments response in a previous post, Keats himself had trouble reciting his own poetry.  He would often forget the lines, as depicted in the movie Bright Star (from which the still photo below comes - it depicts a scene where Keats and Fannie are separated and not allowed to be near each other because of social/cultural issues, but they were still in the same house, and one of their bedroom's walls neighbored the other's, and in one scene they both go to that wall and knock on it just to know that the other is nearby, even if they can't be in the same room).  There is something very physical about a good poem.  You not only feel it intellectually or emotionally, but your body can feel it somehow.  As Keats said in one of his letters, poetry isn't something to be worked out, like a math problem.  It is something you experience.  He compared it to diving into a lake.  You don't work out the lake with careful analysis as you dive in.  You are immersed in it, and you feel it on all sides of you, pushing and swaying and pressing against your shivering rib cage.  Good poetry has words that you experience physically as they are formed on your tongue, tasted in your mouth, and spilled into the air around your head as you speak it.  I love it.


Bright Star 2.jpg
Kevin Ott