Ode on Melancholy by John Keats
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the other John Keats poem that affected me deeply when I was a teenager. Back then, I'd sometimes feel down for no apparent reason but then found that if I listened to the music I loved, or watched good movies, read the books that interested me, penned a story, and spent time with friends, I would feel a lot better. So after reading this poem, I started to use the word melancholy. A lot.
I love this poem now as much as I did then. And age has given me an even deeper appreciation for it.
Keats talks about not letting yourself get so swamped by sadness that it'll take over everything and might even push you to contemplate embracing death. But don't, he says. Because life slips by too quickly already. And instead of focusing on the sad things, why not celebrate beauty and joy? Because if you don't appreciate them... they too eventually slip away.
I absolutely love the message at the core of this poem. Sometimes, when you feel blue and feel yourself falling into negativity, focusing on the beauty all around you and the things that make you happy might just be what you need! Sure, this is not relevant to clinical depression, but that's not what he was talking about here.
Actually, I remember a class discussion that divided us. Some students were convinced this poem was the rant of Keats being under the influence of opium. While others were convinced it was his romantic way of saying that we should appreciate what we have before it's gone. I agreed with the latter.
I still love this poem!