People keep telling me it’s poetry month, mostly through their blogs. I’m looking at you, Laura. So today when I was walking to my car and saw a rather sudden — I mean, they weren’t there Friday — a sudden copse of daffodils, I couldn’t help but think of this poem.
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 leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but 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.
There may be no more famous line in literature for that writerly detachment and observation than the haunting “I wandered lonely as a cloud,” but the later scene, with the poet lying on his couch, is equally important — a blissful moment of solitary reflection as the experience is considered.
So many workshops for writers tell you about adverbs and prologues; few tell you, first, you have to be a specific type of person and live and think a certain way. I’m not sure all published writers do, but I do think all great writers do. They are lonely-cloud wanderers, and have the flashing inward eye, every one.