Dancing with Daffodils

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.

English Breakfast Tea

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.

10 Comments »

  1. This post is an absolute delight. It is good to hear about the poet, a true genius. I read and looked over the poem that you included. There is so much thought and choice of words to make the poem as beautiful as it is. I enjoyed the photo of the tea cup and all the memories that are connected with happy laughter and conversation that we have had over tea. Thank you for including his most thought out poem started when he was 28, interesting it was not published until after his death. Thank you for taking the time to introduce this famous poet, it is so worthwhile.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember the first poem you taught me, Frances! I am going to recite it again and remember how happy I was that I memorized all of the lines:

      The Swing
      BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
      How do you like to go up in a swing,
      Up in the air so blue?
      Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
      Ever a child can do!

      Up in the air and over the wall,
      Till I can see so wide,
      Rivers and trees and cattle and all
      Over the countryside—

      Till I look down on the garden green,
      Down on the roof so brown—
      Up in the air I go flying again,
      Up in the air and down!

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  2. What a joy to see and listen to these words and photos! Nature and poetry have always been the most obvious connection for me since my teen-aged years, and your Wordsworth recitation is a wonderful affirmation! The ‘romantic’ habit of seeing in nature intimations of our immortality is a habit I unabashedly cultivated through decades. This partnership of sensory bliss and its translation into language through recollection in tranquility is a type of poetry I deeply embrace. Thank you for honoring poetry and an entire month to celebrate it! Your appreciation of this art has encouraged me to return to writing, and I can never repay you for this blessing except to share it 🙂

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    • Oh share, share and share some more. Wordsworth’s suggestion of profound thoughts coming in the moment of tranquility prompted me to consider when I was most open to fresh ideas. Reflection and solitude provide a fertile environment for discovery and renewal, whether it be for writing, poetry, music or the more mundane tasks of life. While this may seem intuitive, this was a revelation to me. When we embrace a frantic lifestyle there is a heightened awareness, and we may feel release of the body’s feel good chemicals of endorphin, oxytocin’s, serotonin and dopamine. This gives little time for us to think beyond the task at hand. I am learning, albeit slowly, that meditation is a powerhouse to relieve stress and allow for our minds to percolate! I look forward to every one of your posts and am in the process of learning how to recite your poems. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement.

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  3. Thank you so much for this lovely post. I am missing seeing all the daffodils around the city in real life, so it is extra special to have this virtual visual feast. And of course I raise my teacup to you and WW – happy birthday to him! 🌼💛

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    • I think that you will find this tidbit interesting, Liz. Sometime during the Wordsworth/Coleridge friendship, they had a falling out. They did manage to patch things up, but some believe that their best poetry/creative work was done before the falling out. Creativity seems to be amplified when we share and encourage each other. While solitude is required, the knowledge that friendship is present allows us to experience a heightened creativity. I’m going to try Irish Breakfast tea next to see if there is any difference between the two. Thank you for joining me for tea.

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      • That is indeed so interesting. I can see that sometimes our best creative work is borne out of something in life which is akin to the grit in the oyster. But equally, how very important it is to feel relaxed, safe and secure – confident in the knowledge that we can reach out for support and guidance. How marvellous it would have been to listen in on Coleridge and Wordsworth’s conversations! I look forward to your assessment of Irish tea in due course 😀🍀 xxx

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      • Wouldn’t it be great to sit at the dinner table with Coleridge and Wordsworth and be with them when they were in France during the French Revolution. It seems that every generation has complexity. And right now, we are in the midst of a global challenge. May we choose courage during this time – so much easier to do when we are together. Irish tea is on the teatime menu this week – stay tuned.

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