Tease Us Out of Thought

One way to understand poetry is to think about Twitter. When someone writes a poem, that person tries to squeeze a lot of meaning into every few words, in a way similar to how someone writing a tweet tries to pack a lot into only 140 characters. For example, the second word of our reading “Tease Us Out of Thought” (CUA Primer, pages 19–20) is “still,” here means simultaneously “yet” and “unmoving.” The reading is John Keats’s poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” It confronts us with a question: Do we think that things frozen in the middle of happening are the best, or not?

Photo: “20c Cup with Young Woman Playing the Pipes – Greek 520-510 BC (E)” by Kansas Sebastian is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Jaesen Evangelista says:

    The poem states that the scenes and stories depicted on an urn live on forever, while our lives on earth eventually change (either for the better of for the worse). Whether that means two lovers indulging in their young love or a priest conducting a mournful funeral, the scene will live forever. However, is it best to live life this way? Heck no.

    This reminds me of a social science experiment where participants were asked if they would rather be plugged into a machine all of their lives and always experience pleasure with no pain, or live with pain and pleasure in real life. Though many of us would rather have pleasure over pain any day, a lot of participants chose to live a life with both pleasure and pain. The reason is that life means nothing if the pleasure is not earned, even suffered for. As humans we are meant to change all the time, every day. We are wired to experience pain and pleasure. It’s nice to sulk into a happy moment every now and then but to stay in that moment all of my life is definitely not desirable. I wouldn’t change and I wouldn’t learn anything new. I would stay in one happy moment all of my life and never grow. Personally, I would want to keep growing and witness all that I can, even if that means getting hurt. Because a life lived is a life that welcomes both pleasure and pain.

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