This marks Stacey's second time on the podcast and this time we chatted about the first of John Keats' "Ode" Poems, Ode to Psyche.
One of the keys to using this poem in our real life is to ask ourselves if it is possible to maintain a passionate love affair throughout our entire lives? Does passion have to fade? Can it remain eternal? What role does the imagination play in this process?
Stacey Reay is a popular youtuber who teaches literature and poetry across the pond. Not only did she add valuable insights into the poem but she brought her considerable knowledge of rhyme, meter and prosody to our conversation. Subscribe to her youtube channel for much more: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJhuqpyhE8NzYZFkwTzi_7g
Ode to Psyche
BY JOHN KEATS
O Goddess! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear, And pardon that thy secrets should be sung Even into thine own soft-conched ear: Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see The winged Psyche with awaken'd eyes? I wander'd in a forest thoughtlessly, And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise, Saw two fair creatures, couched side by side In deepest grass, beneath the whisp'ring roof Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran A brooklet, scarce espied: Mid hush'd, cool-rooted flowers, fragrant-eyed, Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian, They lay calm-breathing, on the bedded grass; Their arms embraced, and their pinions too; Their lips touch'd not, but had not bade adieu, As if disjoined by soft-handed slumber, And ready still past kisses to outnumber At tender eye-dawn of aurorean love: The winged boy I knew; But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove? His Psyche true! O latest born and loveliest vision far Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy! Fairer than Phoebe's sapphire-region'd star, Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky; Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none, Nor altar heap'd with flowers; Nor virgin-choir to make delicious moan Upon the midnight hours; No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet From chain-swung censer teeming; No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming. O brightest! though too late for antique vows, Too, too late for the fond believing lyre, When holy were the haunted forest boughs, Holy the air, the water, and the fire; Yet even in these days so far retir'd From happy pieties, thy lucent fans, Fluttering among the faint Olympians, I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspir'd. So let me be thy choir, and make a moan Upon the midnight hours; Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet From swinged censer teeming; Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming. Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane In some untrodden region of my mind, Where branched thoughts, new grown with pleasant pain, Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind: Far, far around shall those dark-cluster'd trees Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep; And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees, The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull'd to sleep; And in the midst of this wide quietness A rosy sanctuary will I dress With the wreath'd trellis of a working brain, With buds, and bells, and stars without a name, With all the gardener Fancy e'er could feign, Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same: And there shall be for thee all soft delight That shadowy thought can win, A bright torch, and a casement ope at night, To let the warm Love in!