Truth in Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn and Cummings' since feeling is first

1808 Words 8 Pages
Truth in Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn and Cummings' since feeling is first

Truth remains a mysterious essential: sought out, created, and destroyed in countless metaphysical arguments through time. Whether argued as being absolute or relative, universal or personal, no thought is perceived or conceived without an assessment of its truth. In John Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and E.E. Cummings' "since feeling is first" the concern is not specifically the truth of a thought, but rather, the general nature of truth; the foundation which gives truth is trueness . Both poets replace investigation with decision, and that which would be argumentation in the hands of philosophers becomes example and sentiment in their poems. Each poet's
…show more content…
The importance of the flowers (whose beauty explains their existence) parallels the importance of pleasure for pleasure's sake emphasized in lines seven and eight: "kisses are a better fate than wisdom." Lines 10-11,"The best gesture of my brain is less than your eyelids' flutter," lend importance to the uncontrolled, pristine expressiveness of the body (contained in an "eyelids' flutter") which over-shadows the contrived, socially conventional action connotated by "gesture." Furthermore, the anatomically specific "brain" defines the gesture as a solely rational act without creativity. The "laugh" of line 13, a spontaneous expression of joy, further contrasts with the "gesture" and finds the "lady" addressed in line nine "leaning back in [the speaker's] arms," "arms" which associate strength with the human expression of love and emotion. Cummings' assertion that "Life is not a paragraph" fosters a sense of freedom by reinforcing the absence of universal rules and structure begun in line three ("syntax") and continued in lines 10 and 11 ("best gesture... flutter"). Finally, "death i think is no parenthesis" encourages the emotional freedom promoted throughout the poem by characterizing death not as a temporary interrupter of a greater progression, but as an ultimate end. "Since feeling is first" finds a life of reason unfulfilling ("life's not a paragraph"), and
Open Document