daffodils and a dilapidated fire hydrant
Well, as is evidenced from the multitude of daffodils in bloom and the stirring in the loins of the twitterpated birds and squirrels in my back yard, Spring has officially sprung.
We had some vicious thunderstorms roll through the Ozarks tonight replete with lightning, hail, and even tornadoes. As soon as I knew it was coming, I managed to run outside long enough to cut the freshly bloomed daffodils from my yard before their inevitable destruction at the unmerciful hands of Mother Nature. My living room now resembles the parlor of a funeral home.
Staring at all of these damned daffodils reminds me of William Wordsworth’s most famous poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (aka “the daffodil poem”), and I now feel obligated to put on my proverbial professor’s cap and give everyone a quick poetry lesson. Accompanying this post are two photographs I took with a point-and-shoot camera a few years back, so please pardon the image quality. They’re pictures of the daffodils which were once planted around my library.
[putting on professor’s cap]
Wordsworth believed that poetry should be “recollected in tranquility,” meaning that a poet shouldn’t compose a poem until enough time has passed (ideally several years) for the poet to recall the inspiration for the poem with a clean emotional slate. Personally, I think this artistic philosophy is absolute bullshit because it runs contrary to what I believe to be the nature of art. As far as I’m concerned, art is not only at its best when it elicits emotion, but also when it’s created with emotion. Passion is essential to the creation of art, and passion isn’t something that can be “recollected in tranquility.” But then again, he was William Wordsworth, and I’m not, so I’m in no position to argue with his creative process.
Below you will find Wordsworth’s poem. It’s a little old fashioned, but it has one of the greatest last stanzas of all time, so I hope you enjoy it.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
I wander'd 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.