Understanding The Poem ‘autumn’ by John Keats

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About this sample


Words: 716 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Nov 22, 2018

Words: 716|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Nov 22, 2018

John Keats’s poem, “To Autumn”, is an ode which is defined as “a lyric poem of some length, usually of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanza structure.” “To Autumn” has a lot of meanings, for Keats is speaking of autumn as if it was human. He expresses autumn in a way that makes it beautiful and full of fruitfulness. Keats uses flowing methods that helps the reader develop imageries of autumn as more than just a season.

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Throughout the poem the theme feels like a nature theme but in the first couple of lines Keats creates images of humans and nature interacting. For example in the first stanza the reader gets the image of autumn working together with the sun to ripen and grow crops as humans would do before harvesting. In the line “and still more, later flower for the bees, until they think warm days will never cease” Keats lets us know that even though the bees think that summer will last forever if they fly around the flowers, it really won’t.

As a poet, John Keats is famous for his odes. These poems address a person or object that can't talk back. In “To Autumn”, this person or object would be autumn. The rhyming meter of the poem is called an iambic pentameter. The form is in ABAB for the first part of the stanzas making the first lines rhyme with the third lines and the second lines rhyme with the fourth lines. The second part of each stanza is much longer and has a different rhyming form. The first stanza is CDEDCCE, and the second and third stanzas are CDECDDE. This rhyming pattern helps the poem have a rhyming steady quality that the reader can connect with the imagery.

In the first stanza, Keats is describing autumn in a way that it is close friend to the “maturing” sun, meaning older. The third line goes on to say “with fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run” meaning that the sun and autumn are planning to make the fruit grow on the vines. This line gives the image of the vines curling around the roof (thatch-eve). In the next few lines Keats gives an image of the apples being very ripe. Keats mentions a gourd in line seven which is very appropriate for the season of autumn. In stanza 2/line 12, Keats asks a question which means who hasn’t seen autumn as ripe as it is now. The next few lines go on to explain how the reader can find autumn. “Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind,” tells us that autumn may be a woman and "to winnow" means to separate the grain when farming. “Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep, drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook spares the next swath and all its twined flowers.” Here we get the image that “she” is taking a nap on a furrow – which is almost like a type hill used for farming – drowsy from the smell of poppy seeds while the tool she was going to use for cutting flowers is lying on the ground. Keats uses the harvesting metaphor again in the next few lines comparing autumn to a gleaner (someone who picks the last stalks of grains). In stanza 3, Keats asks the question of where is your song spring? Knowing that spring’s song isn’t here but autumn’s is. Then he goes on to describe the song of autumn including: clouds, the image of gnats flying around, the sound of lambs, singing crickets, and birds tweeting in the sky.

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John Keats’s usage of words creates images for the reader to better understand the poem. Just using descriptive words helped me analyze parts of the poem better. When I first read this poem I assumed it was just describing what autumn is. After I read it a couple of times I felt something more with the poem as if it had a whole new different meaning. What makes the poem “To Autumn” beautiful is that it has a connection with the average world today. Keats combines living and dying, the pleasant and the unpleasant, because they are known as one within the mixed world we live in today.

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Understanding the Poem ‘autumn’ by John Keats. (2018, November 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
“Understanding the Poem ‘autumn’ by John Keats.” GradesFixer, 05 Nov. 2018,
Understanding the Poem ‘autumn’ by John Keats. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
Understanding the Poem ‘autumn’ by John Keats [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Nov 05 [cited 2024 Apr 17]. Available from:
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