Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I Dropped Keats's Grecian Urn
Dropping Keats's Grecian Urn
I dropped Keats's Grecian Urn
on a tile floor today. Luckily
the thing existed only on paper
in the weighty anthology that
slipped from my hands. Still
the imaginary sound of ancient
pottery hitting mass-produced
tile was terrible and beautiful.
It made me feel guilty and thrilled.
I picked up the book and made
sure Keats's poem was all right.
Not a scratch.
"Beauty is Truth, and Truth,
Beauty": great phrasing, the kind
that gets a poem anthologized.
I like the sound of it, but I never
knew what it meant because it
went in a circle like a toy-train,
and a lot of truth is damned
ugly, and some beauty is an
illusion, which some people
consider to be different from truth.
--Like my opinion matters to Keats
or anyone else, though. Anyway,
the timeless urn is timelessly encased
in Keats's oft-reprinted words, which
are always awake and ready to conjure
images and thoughts. One way to make
your pottery unbreakable is to put it
in poetry. Pottery/poetry. That's one thing
I got out of the poem a long time ago.
True, in words, the pottery's less
beautiful, and it won't hold much liquid, but
you can always pick it up with your
eyes or your ears and hold it in
your mind's hands, never pay to
insure it, and not worry about dropping it.
Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom