Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Favourite Poem and My Favourite Flower

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, 1804

I stumbled across the above poem when I was an elementary school girl. It was quoted in some juvenile fiction book I was reading. As I read the poem, it gripped me with such a strong visual image that I instantly fell in love, both with the poem, and with the flower. Daffodils instantly became my favourite flower as I envisioned myself standing in a vast field of them, nothing else in sight except a tall tree, a beautiful lake, and a blue, cloud strewn sky. I was transported to the English Lake District through Wordsworth's beautiful iambic tetrameter, though I knew neither what the Lake District or iambic tetrameter was.

Being only 10 years of age or so, I didn't realize that it was an incredibly famous poem. Nor did I know to note who the poet was. I returned the book to the library. I forgot the book. But I did not forget the poem or the image it had given me.

Years passed, and I searched for the poem. I of course wasn't bright enough to just ask my mother, who would likely have known, where to find a poem about daffodils. Google search was not available to me then, either. So I would spend time in the library's poetry section, or among the poetry shelves of a local bookshop, and scan poetry book after poetry book, searching for my poem.

When I finally found it, I committed it to memory on the spot, so I'd never lose it again. I also learned the name of the poet, in case I ever forgot the beautiful lines.

To this day, I love this poem. I love the memory I have of the first time I read it. I love daffodils. And I know that if I ever actually visited the Lake District, that I would love it to. In honor of Mr. Wordsworth and the love of daffodils he inspired in me, I planted a strip of daffodils along my front walk last fall. Two days ago, the first of them opened. I'm so glad that Spring is here.


Susan said...

Spring, huh? Daffodils, huh? I'm looking out the window and snow covers my yard. Maybe the SLC mantra should be, "When daffodils come. . . can Spring be far behind?"

Lissa said...