Friday, March 23, 2012

Of Daffodils and Introversion and William Wordsworth

I was an English major in college, and the classics of literature still sing to me. This poem is one of my favorites – and that says a lot because I’ve never been terribly fond of poetry. I think it’s a favorite partly because of the poet’s name; I thought that if I could have a name like Wordsworth I would rank with the immortals also. I think it’s also because of the image of reflective aloneness; words like lonely, pensive, and solitude are a balm to an introvert’s soul.

I like to dust off my British Literature tome and read this poem in the springtime – for obvious reasons. (My sticky note bookmark is still in place with my college-era cursive but is now tattered at the top.) In college, I had it memorized and would recite it to anyone who would listen. Now, more than twenty years later, I still love daffodils, but the sun sparkling on the waves and flashing in my eyes would cause me to pull my not-so-fashionable-but-wide-brimmed hat down on my forehead to prevent further skin cancer. I’d always heard that life changes after forty....

What saddens me as I read this poem again this spring is that too many people would probably brush it off as boring and old-fashioned. They would prefer something edgy and graphic. And yet, couldn’t we all benefit from a slowing-down, a grand pause to contemplate something as simple and yet as beautiful and relaxed as a daffodil? Perhaps, rather than admire them in a stranger’s front yard as we zip past in our car, we ought to take a walk through the woods and see the beauty up close.

Okay, that’s my soapbox this time. I hope you enjoy the poem.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
by William Wordsworth (1804)

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.

Consider the Lilies

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  1. So beautiful...thanks for sharing! Happy Spring! :)

    1. Thanks, Ronda. Happy Spring to you too...especially since it's cooling down a little! :)

  2. Hello, Meghan! It sounds like we have a lot in common. I was home schooled when I was younger. We put our oldest in school last year after having our twins. I plan on home schooling when the kids are a little older.

    I am excited to connect via blogging.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Gabrielle. And I love your blog background!


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