A Host of Golden Daffodils

Maybe Wordsworth wasn’t so bad after all

Poetry bugs me. I was notorious in my lit program at UNO for not reading any of the poetry assignments. I never had to. Without fail, the teacher would ask for comment, crickets would sing, the teacher would say “let’s start by reading it aloud shall we” and then someone would read it and I would listen and say what I thought and learning would ensue.

But I don’t read poetry for enjoyment. It bugs me. The rhythms and the rhyming and the very unsubtle imagery. Poetry is brutal. It involves taking out all the filler words that make prose flow like a babbling brook and turning words into these disjointed phrases that beat you over the head with feelings. Also the kind of guys who study poetry are universally tools. Never met a male poet in person that I didn’t want to smack.

I do like a couple poets. William Carlos Williams delights me to no end. A respected pediatrician who writes gentle, fanciful poetry about wheelbarrows and dancing naked in the attic in his spare time? Yes fucking please. I can definitely relate to that shit.

And Langston Hughes makes me feel like I stuck my finger in a fucking light socket. I, Too works on many planes of existence. He may have been writing about racism in New York City,1 but omfg it so, so works for feminism, too, when the person reading it has been raised in an oppressive, openly misogynistic environment. And isn’t that what makes it so beautiful? I, Too. It says EVERY FUCKING THING. But I digress.

The old romantic poets annoy me. And I could have lived just fine without the sonnets, thank you so much Mr. Shakespeare. 

But today I saw what Wordsworth saw, and it blew my fucking mind.

Not like, I got his imagery or something. I mean I saw a host of golden daffodils waving in the wind by the sea and the whole fucking poem just exploded into my head. I haven’t read the damn thing in at least 15 years, but for a few minutes today it was all I could hear. That’s pretty impressive, old man.

The island we moved to is next to multiple farms that grow flowers as a crop. You know, for florists and shit. Right now the daffodils are in full bloom, and soon the tulips will be opening. I wonder what old poet is going to pop into my head when tulip time is in full swing.

The poem:

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.

1 Hughes may have made his name in New York, but he was born in Joplin, Missouri, and raised in the Midwest, and that delights the fuck out of me.

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