The Sacred Call of the Sea

NB: There is a picture below the post.

It was the English poet John Keats who wrote:

On the Sea

It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores ….
….
Oh ye! whose ears are dinned with uproar rude,
Or fed too much with cloying melody—
Sit ye near some old Cavern’s Mouth and brood,
Until ye start, as if the sea nymphs quired!

Keats suggests that if we have had enough of this noisy world, we should go to a quiet place by the sea and sit “near some old Cavern’s mouth and brood”. Suddenly, out of the silence we may be startled to hear choirs of sea nymphs singing.

We are being called to go back to nature and to allow her to gently embrace us in her healing arms.

This sacred call of the sea is exquisitely captured in the beautiful photograph below. Be still. Can you hear the call?

Photpgraph: Mariska Spoormaker

A big thank you to Mariska Spoormaker for permission to use her beautiful photograph. Mariska took the picture on the Sacramento Trail near Port Elizabeth in South Africa.

The Word Genius of John Keats

Below is the ode “To Autumn” by the poet John Keats

Here is a short, fun exercise that will show you what a genius Keats was when he chose words.

I have deleted some words in the ode.

Choose some words yourself. What would you put in?

Have a go and then at the bottom of the post I have printed the original ode with Keats’s words on bold red.

Then, compare your choices with Keats’s choices.

 

Ode with some words taken out

To Autumn

John Keats – 1795-1821

Season of mists and ……fruitfulness,
  Close ……….friend of the ……….sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves …….;
To ….with apples the …..cottage-trees,
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
    To ….the gourd, and ….the hazel shells
  With a …..kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think ….days will never cease,
    For summer has ……….. their clammy cells.

Keats’s version with Keats’s words in bold red

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
  With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
    For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

 

How did you do?

You can do the same exercise for the rest of the ode.

Enjoy.

PS My late Uncle told me about the above exercise. He learnt it from a teacher in Southern Rhodesia, probably in the 1930s.