Monday, April 11, 2011

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud by 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:
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,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Some thoughts…

on the poet: William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was a pioneer of the Romantic movement in English Poetry, and was one of the finest exponents of lyric poetry.

on this poem: This really doesn’t call for an explanation – a sea of daffodils dancing near the ocean shore, the mere memory of which delights the heart forever more.

on a personal note: They say you will always remember your first, right? I don’t think that this poem is the first I read; I do know that it’s the first I remember. It was either in high school or university. The lecturer came in, and without so much as an introduction, started reading the poem in a soporific monotone. My reaction was one of acute irritation. Excuse my callow youth. At that time, my love of literature sprang from a love of books, and I was only dimly receptive to poetry. It’s something that teachers forget, and students recognize with a sinking heart – the uninspired cannot be inspiring.

I learned to love poetry, when I ignored the middleman, and went to the source. That poem was Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’. I had found my paradise, at any rate. 

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