This week on the Influence: (a) play!
It’s winter time and I realize that I haven’t posted up a winter poem. One of my favorites is John Keats’ “On the Grasshopper and Cricket”.
It is a deceptively playful yet serious sonnet. Statements on “the poetry of earth” occur twice, breaking up the poem’s argument which consists of a parallel between the lives and seasons of the grasshopper and cricket. The grasshopper is playful in summertime; the cricket’s song survives with us in the wintertime.
The rhymes are musical and yet there is an undertone of mortality despite the harmony. The first line hits with two charged words “never dead” and then bounces along with the grasshopper. This charged feeling is repeated with the words “ceasing never”. Life – earthly life – is emphatic.
This parallel would be enough except (and as a good sonnet should) there is a turn – only here it occurs at the end. The cricket’s song suddenly brings forth the memory of the grasshopper. It is a visceral evocation worthy of Mr. Negative Capability. Suddenly – like some poetical Venn Diagram of genius – the poem ends with summertime in wintertime.
Keats is the man.
Here is the proof:
It ain’t easy being Sprinkle Foot.
Cookies are courtesy of my lady’s family household. I totally decorated cookies this week.
Like a boss.
See ya next year (ha!),
p.s. Keats wrote the above sonnet in a contest with his mentor Leigh Hunt. With this, the mentee became the mentor … ‘s buddy? – the matinee became the mentorasaurus…rex…the –