Explain the poem "Ode to Autumn" by John Keats.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Ode to Autumn" is a three part praise to the nature of autumn that begins with sensory imagery about spring. The poem follows the definitive strophe, antistrope, epode structural form of an ode. Understanding the form helps guide understanding of the ode.
The strophe (i.e., first stanza) describes spring as the "Season of mists [rains] and mellow fruitfulness" and as the "bosom-friend of the maturing sun." This line has an inversion of syntax in which "maturing" precedes the noun "sun."

The structure of this line should mean that the sun is maturing, or moving further into the year, which is a convention usually reserved for the autumn season or the metaphoric autumn of life. Yet in this perhaps less than successful word scheme, Keats has written "maturing sun" as a play on words. In this syntax, "maturing" refers to the effect of the sun on the "fruitfulness," or abundant fruits, of spring. The remainder of the stanza details the signs of spring and ends with an allusion to summer (i.e., "later flowers for the bees") and to autumn (i.e., "Summer has o'er-brimmed").

Stanza two is the antistrophe, which replies to and balances the strophe. It addresses the personification of autumn, to whom the ode is directed (i.e., "Who hath not seen thee oft"), and describes autumn's activities related to harvest (e.g., "granary floor," "winnowing wind" and "perfume of poppies") and cider making (i.e., "by the cider-press"). In keeping with the balancing function of the antistrophe, it is delivered in a more somber tone than the strophe.

The third stanza is the epode in which the cheerful first stanza and the more somber second stanza are brought together and completed by Keats' description of the song of autumn. This ode contrasts autumn to spring and corrects a conception of autumn being an inferior season to spring. Keats points out that autumn has equally significant activities and a music of its own, thus the poet says, "thou hast thy music too." The rest of the epode describes that music: the flying wings of river swallows; the wind blowing or subsiding; the crickets and redbreasts; "And gathering swallows twitter in the skies."

kasunpriyabala | Student

It is crystal clear that the nature related poem "Ode to Autumn" which is wriiten by a major romantic poet "John Keat" indicates several number of realistic themes regarding the human life parrelel to the mother of nature using heart felt visual imagaries very efectively. Here I am much interested in commenting on the generel theme which i grasped by deeply attending to the poem. According to my own point of view the inventor of this literary work has taken a great effort to convince his idea of the unavoidable reality of the human life while illustrating the season of winter,beauty of a riping women and etc.