Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Poetry Reads: Daffodils by William Wordsworth


Most of us went through school without wondering why in the world we had poems like Daffodils revisiting the English language textbooks every two years. Well, at least I did...not...wonder. Nobody seemed to have heard of the flower or seen it in those sans Internet days. We were probably too bored to ask among other things - what did the flower look like? While teachers read the whole thing with the assurance of a kung fu master and horticulturist mingled in one sonorous voice, we can see now (as always when it is too late) that they were earning their paychecks. Reading the poem now, one can see why it is popular - there is universal appeal, an admiration for all beautiful things. The benefits of lingering in a moment are many, and Daffodils is a treasure house of one such moment.     

Back to the Future: William Wordsworth? 
Throwing the reins to fantasy, William Wordsworth would probably be too distracted to write solely about daffodils in a single poem in this progressive 21st century world. Things are just not that simple in the modern world nowadays, or so is life lived or made out to be. Wordsworth would (probably, probably) curse the looming, flashing cell phone towers, upcoming flyovers and the shopping mall for spoiling a previously unhindered horizon. Maybe, alas, he would just miss the daffodils, the first words of inspiration whisked away by a call from a bank eager to loan him money. Thus typing away furiously on his touchscreen keypad, he would have composed dark, murderous verse on malicious lightning - graphically describing its fatal impact on pesky phone callers. Daffodils would have been a juxtaposition of human accumulation, its image flashing on Wordsworth's 'inward eye', i.e, his mega pixel equipped cell phone camera. 

Reining in fantasy to its stable, we are glad Wordsworth lived in a world when nature were queen & king, and our species its admiring subjects. For those still wondering in school, no Indian poet has written as popularly about marigold, jasmine or the fiery mayflower...yet. If anyone out there knows of poems in any language of the world that tell endearingly about flowers, do share.  

Daffodils
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.

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(Article by Snehith Kumbla)

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