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While we educators do not write for students, we do offer suggestions for them on writing assignments. Therefore, with respect to the student's composition of a paragraph or a poem based upon "Ode to a Nightingale," here are some considerations:
- In "Ode to a Nightingale" Keats presents the concept of the conflicted nature of life: pain/joy, pleasure/numbness, life/death, mortal/immortal, real/ideal.
- Profoundly touched by the song of the nightingale, Keats finds the bird a muse as he responds to the loveliness of this song and its "immortality."
- Hearing the nightingale causes Keats to feel a connection between the mundane and that of the spirit:
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless sings of Poesy...
Already with thee! tender is the night
And haply, the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Clustered around by all her starry Fays
- While the little nightingale's song elevates the spirit of the poet, he hovers between the real world and the ideal world of the spirit, and the poet, in the end, is yet in the real world alone.
And leaden-eyed despairs,
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes
Now, with regard to wrting a poem from the nightingale's point of view, the student can have the little bird take the role of the poet and observe the man who listens to him. The bird, then, can feel a connection to the man's pain and life and react accordingly. For instance, he can remark, "What man is this that so observes my song?" Then, he can, like the man, sense a connection between them. As his realizes that the man listens to him, he, can increase the tenor of his song, hoping to cheer the man, but, like the poet, realizing that they are yet in separate worlds, he ends his efforts since his "lustrous eyes" cannot appease the man's "leaden-eyed despairs."
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