Despite his brief life, John Keats wrote words packed with the wisdom and intelligence of many lifetimes. The essence of this is perhaps, found in his letters. In one correspondence to his siblings, John Keats wrote his philosophy on the significance of life:
“Call the world if you please ‘the vale of soul-making.’ Then you will find out the use of the world.”
Valleys can be strikingly beautiful. Nestled between towering mountains among puffs of clouds, valleys boast streams, rivulets, and lush grasses. Keats written pondering sought to discover the essential shape of life and the purpose of it all. His imagined valley is a symbol of life itself. A life which encompasses both the good and the bad.
Keats finds a juxtaposition of place where both nurture and challenge exist in order for growth to happen— and in it he believes we find meaning and identity.
Try It: The Vale Poetry
What meaning does life offer you? Do you agree with Keats philosophy for a valley of which the soul is formed? Perhaps you disagree and find that a valley has a different meaning to you? Write a poem that reflects your thoughts and feelings about a valley as a representation of the world and/or soul-making.
Click to get FREE 5-Prompt Mini-Series
Here is a recent mountain-inspired poem from Anna we enjoyed:
Photo by Denali National Park. Creative Commons via Flickr.
Browse more mountains & valleys poems
Browse more writing prompts
Browse poetry teaching resources
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland
- Poetry Prompt: Misunderstood Lion - March 19, 2018
- Animate: Lions & Lambs Poetry Prompt - March 12, 2018
- Poetry Prompt: Behind the Velvet Rope - February 26, 2018
The pre-dawn light shifts from grey to vanilla;
threads of early morning weave fog
around the head of Pikes Peak
like a ring of horizontal braids.
Last evening’s snowfall paintbrushes
a stark masterpiece onto the high summits.
I watch a mixed flock head south beyond snow sprinkled red rock
into miles of clear, empty skies.
I stand in the open door and take in that winter blue
stretching beyond the edges of my eyesight
and applaud the stronghold of this place-
uncaptured and silent,
which will never be diminished.