one hundred & eighty: beauty

i have no idea why this got stuck in my head, but it was all i could think since reading the word. and there are plenty of more interesting things i could have written about, beautiful places and people and experiences i’ve known…but i couldn’t get that one line from keats’ ode on a grecian urn out of my mind: the one that goes, beauty is truth; truth beauty.

so yeah, i’m a geek. i know. just wait. it will get geekier, but only slightly, i promise, i won’t interpret it line by line or anything like that…

i remember reading this in high school, and being struck by keats’ poetry, his odes in particular, i don’t know exactly why. maybe because an ode was meant to be complex and complicated, lyrical (and i fancied myself all of those, haha) or maybe because originally, like back in ancient greece, they were intended to be sung? or coz the guy wrote like a fucking boss, and was way ahead of his time and died way too young? i don’t know exactly, but i loved this poem, and i loved learning all the hot debates about its last two lines.

like who was speaking it? the urn to him? him to the urn, or to the characters on the urn, who were going to be there beyond him, speaking to onlookers in perpetuity? or him to us? and what was the commentary, exactly?

here’s my read: art is a better storyteller than clunky, awkward words. beauty is in the eye of the beholder – for that person, the thing that makes their heart sing, the person who turns their crank – is what is beautiful, and that’s final. that beauty, what we find beautiful – art, nature, the body – is the only truth worth living.

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