Wednesday, 11 August 2010

“I wandered lonely as a cloud”

Here is something I hope you will ponder upon, and what I call one of my all time favourite one liners, and not mine I regret to say, but that of a man born in 1770 and who died in 1850. He lived and died in the Lake District, and came from a little town by the name of Cockermouth. His name was William Wordsworth and that one liner: “I wandered lonely as a cloud”

I had been to the Lake District many times in the past both as a child and as an adult but had never really thought of Wordsworth or Cockermouth. But there I was, at the graveside of William Wordsworth thanking him for his wonderful poems, but more so verbally thanking him for that one line that had stuck with me from the first day that I had ever heard it.

As most people will know this is the opening line to his poem: The Daffodils; and on that particular day after a short time pondering. I left the beautiful little churchyard with him surrounded by the gravestones of some of his family members.  I felt I came away with something more than I went with, and it was that special something that induced real questions for me, as I thought I had only gone out of inquisitiveness; in fact it turned out to be much more.

Through my life I have found myself standing up for the underdog and then finding my self standing alone and becoming the underdog myself.

That is when those very words came home to me and that was just how I felt “Lonely as a Cloud.”  And so I came to realise I thought I had something in common with this man,  not at all, for I came to realise I was always looking for the worst in mankind and as the saying goes if you look for the worst in man you are sure to find it.

What has this got to do with Socialists? Well nothing really, England at that time was going through a bad time, a war with France, Taxes were high in order to finance the war, and then in 1805 even though winning the battle, the hero of the day, was lost in death, old one-eyed Nelson.

Wordsworth wrote ‘The Daffodils’ in 1804 and  it was published in 1807. He could have written war poems about death and misery, loneliness and hardship. Instead he remained the true romantic and wrote poems such as The Daffodils, even though he thought himself lonely as a cloud and looking down upon the daffodils dancing in the wind.

What heart, beauty and ebullience he must have brought to not only British hearts and minds.

I have a real admiration for this man who saw so much beauty in the simple things. I have been trying to take a leaf out his book but I am afraid; I still don't see a lot of good in the world.  However then again I think often when I recall that one liner. I could say to William if he was here today, you would never have to wonder alone ever again.

"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.

William Wordsworth

Post By: Brian Hopper or In the Box
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