Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Monday Morning Poem: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

William Wordsworth...

   I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay: 10
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood, 20
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

So starting my new Monday morning poem feature with Wordsowrth seems a little hokey, nmostly because Wordsworth, bless his heart, was so unbelievably maudlin at times. He's far from my favorite poet, and not even my favorite Romantic (Keats and Coleridge claim that spot). But reader, the DAFFODILS are blooming, at least in New York, which is the true harbinger of spring here. And how can one look at daffoldils without thinking of this poem?

Wordsworth's philosophy of nature and poetry means a lot to me , because for this cynic, it's the closest to a guiding principle I have found: savor life's rare moments of beauty and remember them during the more frequent moments of darkness. For whatever reason, we human beings, despicable, lowly creatures that we are, were put on a gorgeous planet. And that random gorgeousness is one of the few things capable of elevating us, if we allow it to "flash" upon our "inward eye." Too bad we're destroying the earth and soon we're going to have to rely pretty heavily on our inward eyes.

But back to William Wordsworth. My favorite line, by far, "is tossing their heads in a sprightly dance." I love the image of the yellow daffodils dancing side by side with the blue bay, sparkling. It's so vivid. And the first line is underrated too--if you unpack the simile, the idea of a solitary human being like a cloud gives you an idea of his utter remoteness.

In short, this poem is like an early Beatles song, almost embarassingly exuberant, but inescapably hooks you none the less ;)

For more sophisticated Wordsworth, see the Prelude and and Tintern Abbey.

And if you have suggestions for other poems to feature on Monday morn, shoot me a line.

1 comment:

  1. I JUST finished a paper on nature imagery in The Prelude. Heh.