April 7, 2020. I am having tea with the poet, William Wordsworth. Today marks his 250th birthday and I’m inviting you to our celebration. English Breakfast tea is steeping nearby, a fitting choice for meeting up with an important Romantic English poet, who was destined to become the British Poet Laureate.
Ah, English Breakfast blends are rich and dense, the colour of red amber. Some say they taste the subtle notes of dark raspberry jam. English Breakfast has a strength and sturdiness that inspires throughout the day. It is a good way to begin mornings and certainly reflects the bold spirit of our guest of honour.
William Wordsworth wrote that, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.”
William Wordsworth had a love of nature and a determination to express his ideas in vocabulary and speech patterns that were familiar. His poetry resonated with readers, reminding them of the profound and joyful connection of humanity and nature.
Born in 1770, William Wordsworth, lived during a time of great change. Brilliant, beloved, he lived with passion and determination. He met fellow poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in 1795. Together, they became the leading figures of the English Romantic movement, publishing their “Lyrical Ballads” in 1798.
William Wordsworth’s most well known poems include “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” and “She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways.” But his masterpiece is “The Prelude” which he began at the age of 28 and worked on throughout his life. It was published three months after his passing in 1850. Considered autobiographical, this poem was addressed to his friend, Samuel Coleridge.
We use words as a conduit to connect ideas, plans, knowledge and wisdom. Why does a few words, a short line written in poetic language, evoke an emotion response?
Poetry is much more compressed than fiction. Poetry has immediacy. We recognize grief, elation, hope, as if the poet is speaking directly to us, enticing us with the possibilities of diverse interpretations and reminding us of our transient existence.
Poetry is necessary. It is an intense, emotional language that speaks to our spirit, to our deep need for understanding and belonging. We respond to the sounds, symbolism, rhythm of poetic language. Poetry gives us the confidence to explore our fast-paced dynamic world.
Poetry continues to transform, influence and demand entry into all areas of our lives.
I invite you to read with me “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.
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.