The Poets

April 07, 2015


William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (my favorite of the two) ushered in the English period of the Romantic movement in poetry and literature with their publication of Lyrical Ballads in 1798.

The simplicity of their poetic diction, the enduring imagery and vividness that permeates their works, along with the mystical and sometimes ominous subjects their musings revolve around, has made their poetry both incredible and incredibly accessible and relatable to the layperson. These two poets have produced works that are not only beautiful and mesmerizing, but also honest and bold enough so as to reach out and touched gently on the Woeful and Dreadful in ways that are, in literary terms, beyond reproach. These poets are, in short, Homeric monuments.

Wordsworth, who was born on this day in 1770, was the first poet of the Romantic period in England that I read, and I was drawn to him immediately! His Lucy poems are eerily intriguing, steeped in total mystery and riddled with an acute sense of melancholy and lament (far from the mere pastoral musings of a naturalist poet that many have predicated upon him). His poem, Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802, which describes the beauty of a serene London morning from the quite perspective of the Westminster Bridge, is one of my favorite poems of all time- and probably one of his more popular ones.

Of his more popular works, I find it remarkable (and very embarrassing the more I contemplate it) that though I'm a fan of the works of Wordsworth, I only recently became acquainted with what's deemed one of his finest poems, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, also simply known as Daffodils.

To commemorate his date of birth, I'd like to share that poem with you. The rhyme scheme is simple: ababcc per stanza; the meter, a smooth eight syllables per line (iambic tetrameter); and the imagery, sublime. Trust me, you'll dig it. Let me know what you think.


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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well I am in absolute awe John. I started to write what I called poetry at the age of 12, in all honesty I was always writing. Wordsworth is one of the first recognised poets that I made a connection with. I bought ~William Wordsworth An Anthology~ a part of the English Poets Series in 1989. I desperately wanted to replicate the way I felt when I heard 'I wandered Lonely As A Cloud' for the first time. I was floating in a beautiful haze of natures giving. I love that particular write because it was easy to transport myself there and to be that lonely cloud and to feel that joy that made things right. I bought ~William Wordsworth An Anthology~ a part of the English Poets Series when I was very young and oh so passionate about my new relationship with poetry. If you have a moment please read ~To A Skylark~ By Wordsworth. An incredibly humbling and nostalgic share for me John. Thank you. Patricia Smith

As of April 9th, 2010