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9/24/2018

What is sensuousness? Examine “To Autumn” as a sensuous poem.


     Sensuousness is a way of perception through five senses. A sensuous poet uses those word-pictures that help the reader to understand the sights and sounds expressed or suggested in a poem. John Keats is best known for his use of such images that appeal to human senses. For this reason, he is often called a sensuous poet. In the three stanzas of “To Autumn”, Keats presents three different sets of images appealing to three different senses. “To  Autumn”, thus, very strongly reflects Keats’ sensuousness.  The first stanza of “To Autumn” mainly appeals to the sense of taste. Autumn is a season of “mellow fruitfulness.” The vines, Laden with the clusters of ripe grapes, run along the edge of the thatch roofed country houses. The juicy grapes appeal to the sense of taste of the readers. Similarly, the apples, the gourd, the hazelnuts and honey bring water to the mouths of the readers. Though these images at first appeal to the sense of sight, they ultimately appeal to the sense of taste.  The second stanza appeals to the sense of sight. Keats personifies Autumn and presents it as a country woman to convey an idea about Autumn’s occupations. Autumn,in the shape of a woman, is seen on a granary floor, sitting carelessly while her dishevelled hair is soft-lifted by the winnowing wind. Sometimes, she is found in deep sleep on a half-reaped cropland. Her hook is seen lying nearby. At some other time, she is found to wade across a hilly brook taking the load of a gleaner on her head. She is also seen to work patiently with her cider-press to collect juice from fruits. Thus, Autumn has several occupations that can be seen with our eyes. In other words, Autumn as a woman appeals to our sense of sight very vividly.  The third stanza deals with the sounds found in Autumn. Autumn does not have the songs of spring. But she has her own music. There is the wailful choir of small gnats, which directly appeals to our sense of hearing. The sound created by these small insects sound like the sound of a mourning procession. Then there are lambs’ bleating, the song of the hedge-crickets, the whistles of redbreast (robin), the twittering of the swallows that appeal directly to the sense of hearing. The third stanza has, therefore, been used to attract the sense of hearing.  ”To Autumn”  is, thus,  a highly sensuous poem. In it Keats uses clear-cut images which appeal to our senses we perceive the nature and occupations of autumn. Autumn comes between summer and winter and is known as a time of low spirit suggesting the oncoming death of the year. The sounds of autumn very clearly indicate this mood of the season. The fruits and the pictures of harvest are also very vividly present in the poem. These dominant images, distinctly appealing to our senses, lead us to identify Keats as a sensuous poet.
Sensuousness is a way of perception through five senses. A sensuous poet uses those word-pictures that help the reader to understand the sights and sounds expressed or suggested in a poem. John Keats is best known for his use of such images that appeal to human senses. For this reason, he is often called a sensuous poet. In the three stanzas of “To Autumn”, Keats presents three different sets of images appealing to three different senses. “To  Autumn”, thus, very strongly reflects Keats’ sensuousness.
The first stanza of “To Autumn” mainly appeals to the sense of taste. Autumn is a season of “mellow fruitfulness.” The vines, Laden with the clusters of ripe grapes, run along the edge of the thatch roofed country houses. The juicy grapes appeal to the sense of taste of the readers. Similarly, the apples, the gourd, the hazelnuts and honey bring water to the mouths of the readers. Though these images at first appeal to the sense of sight, they ultimately appeal to the sense of taste.
The second stanza appeals to the sense of sight. Keats personifies Autumn and presents it as a country woman to convey an idea about Autumn’s occupations. Autumn,in the shape of a woman, is seen on a granary floor, sitting carelessly while her dishevelled hair is soft-lifted by the winnowing wind. Sometimes, she is found in deep sleep on a half-reaped cropland. Her hook is seen lying nearby. At some other time, she is found to wade across a hilly brook taking the load of a gleaner on her head. She is also seen to work patiently with her cider-press to collect juice from fruits. Thus, Autumn has several occupations that can be seen with our eyes. In other words, Autumn as a woman appeals to our sense of sight very vividly.
The third stanza deals with the sounds found in Autumn. Autumn does not have the songs of spring. But she has her own music. There is the wailful choir of small gnats, which directly appeals to our sense of hearing. The sound created by these small insects sound like the sound of a mourning procession. Then there are lambs’ bleating, the song of the hedge-crickets, the whistles of redbreast (robin), the twittering of the swallows that appeal directly to the sense of hearing. The third stanza has, therefore, been used to attract the sense of hearing.
”To Autumn”  is, thus,  a highly sensuous poem. In it Keats uses clear-cut images which appeal to our senses we perceive the nature and occupations of autumn. Autumn comes between summer and winter and is known as a time of low spirit suggesting the oncoming death of the year. The sounds of autumn very clearly indicate this mood of the season. The fruits and the pictures of harvest are also very vividly present in the poem. These dominant images, distinctly appealing to our senses, lead us to identify Keats as a sensuous poet.

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