Of course, I like to see rainbows,
But my heart hasn’t leapt for one;
I’ve not wandered like a cloud blows,
Though I’ve been lonely in the sun.
Oh, I like Nature, that’s for sure—
I just can’t feel Wordsworth’s amour.

I’m sometimes in a pensive mood
(And, yes, my thoughts can be vacant),
But sight of a daffodil brood
Never makes my spirit buoyant.
Oh, rivers are pleasant to see,
Yet Wordsworth’s bliss is strange to me.

So, how can I expect to write
When I don’t know what flowers mean,
And Nature’s voice is dim as night—
Isn’t poet ink sylvan green?
Oh, if I can’t channel Wordsworth,
I’ll never voice the sounds of earth!

Isn’t there space for a poet
Who’s not Nature-rapt like Wordsworth?
The poet’s portal can’t be shut
On all who lack his gift of mirth.
If I’ve an “inward eye” to hone,
Why must it be like Wordsworth’s own?

 

Post your thoughts on Wordsworth and nature in the comments section below.

 

Ron L. Hodges is an English teacher and poet who lives in Orange County, California. His works have appeared in The Road Not Taken, Ancient Paths, Calvary Cross, and The Society of Classical Poets Journal 2015 and 2016. He won the Society’s prestigious Annual Poetry Competition in 2016.

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5 Responses

  1. ben

    i felt that way and my poetry started to use character as a reference point vs nature. it’s one and the same. wordsworth was christian. i practice eastern meditation, so our reference points are different as they would be for any two individuals. i tend to be less romantic and less refined. you probably have your own nuances or characteristics. nature is still just as much a reference point. ultimately principles of life are reflected in it and it too comes from them.

    Reply
  2. Michael Dashiell

    Though you haven’t the love and intimacy with nature Wordsworth enjoyed how is your empathy with cities and artificial things? This theme could make a poem with a positive view. On the other hand, Coleridge lamented his failing empathy with the beauty of nature in Dejection: An Ode: Yon crescent Moon, as fixed as if it grew/in its own cloudless, starless lake of blue/I see them all so excellently fair/I see, not feel how beautiful they are! This might be closer to your viewpoint? To halfway come to your defense, Wordsworth loved the visible beauty of nature, yet didn’t seem to recognize its negative and ugly aspects: The endless appetite, murder, and devouring of lesser prey.

    Reply
  3. Sam Gilliland

    When one invites discussion on a major, classical poet the need to search for philosophy aligned to cogent points far over-rides the real intent behind comments. Better, by far, to demonstrate the triumphs of the poet, and the doctrines displayed in fine verse so that debts to literature are seen for what they are and not the exasperating principles of versifiers hell bent on analysis of what should readily be the emotional involvement of joy rather than anything else.

    Reply
  4. Hibah Shabkhez

    I empathise with your basic point: the poet who (like myself) is obliged to concede that poems for him or her come generally not from daffodils and sylvan green but the oft-deplored City does tend to feel rather sheepishly out of place in the face of Wordsworth’s rapture. But this is the first time I have heard of Wordsworth being credited with a ‘gift of mirth’… he has fervour, certes, and a bliss all but fey, but mirth?

    Reply
  5. J. Simon Harris

    I like this poem, with the back-and-forth conversation with some of Wordsworth’s poems. It is somewhat paradoxical because the poet seems to be fond enough of Wordsworth to be familiar with his work, yet is unmoved enough by him that he laments it in this poem. I’m not well versed in Wordsworth, but the sentiment is common: sometimes one can recognize the greatness of something intellectually, without actually connecting with it emotionally.

    Reply

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