I’ll be honest with you—I haven’t been feeling the poetry for the last few days. Stuff kept getting in the way—my manuscript, work, the Bouchercon trip,* cursing the spider that bit me on the face a week ago,** the kids, a severe case of self-inflicted sleep deprivation, and so on.
So I stuck my hand in my poetry folder and pulled out a few clippings without looking, trusting in serendipity. Lucky for my state of mind and the state of this post, two were by William Wordsworth—and one is my number one favorite poem of all time.
William Wordsworth’s cadences tend to draw me in and slow me down—and his comparisons command my attention. His poems tend to bring me back to myself and let me breathe a moment.
And talk about relevance:
The World Is Too Much With Us
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
I love this poem—possibly because I appreciate the reminder to pay attention to what matters, and also because I was heavily into fantasy and mythology when I was a kid and this poembegs to be illustrated by Jody Lee.
But the other clipping was one of the three full poems I can recite from memory without concentrating.
A few of my acquaintances might be of the opinion that I perhaps spend a tad too much time wandering like a cloud, but I’m thinking they shouldn’t knock it until they’ve tried it—we all might benefit from some judicious Daffodil Dancing.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
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.
Thanks. I needed that.
*I want to hit the hotel a little before check-in at four and it’s about an eight-hour drive. Do I start a day early and spend the night somewhere along the way or leave early the day of and power through? I need to get Rocinante checked out and tuned before I go either way—but when? Whose idea was it to drive anyway?
**I mentioned this on Twitter and Facebook, so for those of you who were wondering, those superpowers never showed up. I’m a little bummed about that, considering I’m going around with a nice little divot on my cheek now—and it still itches, though that might be the adhesive from the bandages.