Judson Jerome


What is the difference between a nightingale and a fly? The answer tells us much about the meaning of twentieth century experience. Though Keats wrote to a grasshopper as well as to a nightingale, it is inconceivable that he might have written a poem such as Emily Dickinson's "I heard a fly buzz when I died" (or "The Flea," by John Donne, whose sensibility was much closer to the modem temper in many ways than was that of Keats). Certainly he would not have written a deliberate celebration of a machine, as Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Stepen Spender did in their poems to locomotives. Examination of these poems tells us much about the sensibility of the ages in which they were written as it does about the poets who wrote them.



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