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Passions in Poetry

On Wordsworth's "Intimations" Ode

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Local Parasite
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0 posted 09-06-2004 06:10 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

http://www.netpoets.com/classic/poems/073017.htm

The full title is "Ode:  Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood."

Don't be discouraged by the length.  It's a bit long, but it's entertaining.  I wanted to bring this poem up for discussion as it's probably one of the more significant poems (to me personally) that I've read in my life.

Also, I feel that it follows nicely from "Alone," as it's rather reflective on the poet's part, and deals with his childhood.  Yet the concept of childhood is represented in a different light from the perspective we read in "Alone."  

Wordsworth indeed identifies a sense of the unreal in his childhood, how things seemed different than they appear in adulthood.  Yet he longs for that perspective he had as a child, rather than making it seem as though it were an inconvenience to him.  There's no frightening "demon" in his view, as Poe had, but only things "apparelled in celestial light."

The first key to understanding Wordsworth's poem is in this line:

quote:
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.


In the stanza directly following that one, he goes on to identify beautiful things that surround him, to which he can attribute descriptions (the rainbow comes and goes, and lovely is the rose), but feels that a certain "glory" has been lost.

One thing we have to understand about Wordsworth, again in light of Poe's account of childhood, is that he doesn't distinguish himself from other children---he only distinguishes his childhood from adulthood.  In fact, he directly relates his childhood experience to those of other children.

quote:
Ye blessed creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;


Where the poem develops a more interesting tone is in the stanza that begins with this line:

quote:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:


(This line itself is one of my favourite lines of poetry, and I use it constantly in the most inopportune situations).

Wordsworth now begins to compare childhood with closeness to God.  In this stanza, I believe, the true message of the poem begins to reveal itself to us.  Not only is it glorious to be a child, but being a child also implies a more intimate closeness with God than being an adult.  The closer we are to birth, the less we have "forgotten."  

This brings to mind many passages in the New Testament, that speak of the wisdom of children, and how man is meant to approach the kingdom of God as a child.  In my opinion, this poem addresses that point directly in comparing the rationalistic adult who says "the rainbow comes and goes," to the child who is still able to revel in the glory of the earth.

quote:
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her inmate, Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.


quote:
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep


Our "forgetting" comes about as we grow old and learn to attribute meaning to things, and forget the fullness of their glory.  Things are no longer apparelled in celestial light---we are no longer impressed by the glory of creation, for we have learned to take it for granted.  We can no longer "read the eternal deep."

There is hope, though.  We read on:

quote:
Hence, in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither;
Can in a moment travel thither -
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.


The importance here is that, while we can no longer become those children that we see, we can still go and enjoy their happiness second-hand.  Though it is impossible for us to experience those things we had in our youth, in our closeness to God, we can yet appreciate their brilliance from a distant perspective.

quote:
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;


quote:
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.


How "immortality" works into this doctrine of Wordsworth's is something that I have difficulty working out.  To this day my best answer to that problem lies in some relationship between mortality and the sleep and forgetting of being born---but immortality presides in the glory of those things that will forever be seen and identified with the eyes of children.  We cannot reach the perspective we once had, from which we, in our intimacy with God, could see the absolute of all things---but we can appreciate those things as immortal, everlasting, compared with ourselves who are forgetting and dying.
Skyfyre
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1 posted 09-09-2004 06:57 PM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

With respect, this is more than a "bit" long.  The olde English doesn't help for readability either.

Not saying it's not a great poem, but it's rather daunting for this type of discussion.  It would be very hard to analyze this piece without reading it many times, and who has that kind of time?

Text is an awful medium, so let me clarify that I'm not being hostile here.  I did read the poem (and in fact have read it before) but I feel I'd be cheating the author and the reader if I wrote an analysis less than three pages long, with quotes.  

EDIT:  Just for fun, since we've obviously both read it, I challenge you (Brian) to sum the dominant message of the piece up in one sentence.  I've already got mine, but I want to see what you think of it since it was your selection.  
Local Parasite
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2 posted 09-09-2004 07:12 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

quote:
With respect, this is more than a "bit" long.  The olde English doesn't help for readability either.


Next week we're going to read The Faerie Queene so I maintain this is only a "bit" long.  (just kidding)

I don't see how the language is troublesome.  It's not old english, nor middle english, and I don't even think it's fair to call it early modern english... one of Wordsworth's key goals in his writing was to put poetry into the "language of men."  Although it's a bit older than what we're used to, I guess...

Thanks for the feedback---the main message of the poem, in my opinion, is probably that children are closer to God, better philosophers, and more capable in faith than adults are.  But there is so, so much more to it than just that...
Skyfyre
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3 posted 09-09-2004 07:25 PM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

OK, let's call it imaginary English then.     Many of the contractions are rather clunky, and while I understand the need for some of them with respect to rhythm and meter, there is such a thing as too much perfection in that regard.

Interesting though that my overall impression of the poem is very different from yours.  If I had to sum it up, I'd say the theme of the poem is something like "We are born perfect and corrupted by the world; but sometimes the memory of perfection can be more precious than the reality."

As I said, please don't take offense, I've got a bad habit for being forthright that gets me into trouble all the time, heh.  I love long (and even epic) poems; I've even written a couple double sestinas back in my crazier days, but the fact is the average forum-reader's attention span is approximately 30 seconds per idea (or in this case, per post) so I didn't want this to just hang out there forever with no replies.  

Respectfully,

Linda
Local Parasite
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4 posted 09-09-2004 07:59 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

Linda,

I think we essentially agree... I think I just consider this stanza to take a step past your conclusion.

quote:
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.


Can you see the religious tilt I'm putting on it?

Also, I don't really agree that we're born "perfect."  I just think that Wordsworth is saying we have a more perfect approach to the world in childhood than we did as adults.

Furthermore, I don't think he really leaves room for us to say that remembering childhood can be better than actually being there... just that nostalgia can approach our once perfect perspective enough to appreciate it from the outside.  I'm interested in what passages bring you to that conclusion.
Skyfyre
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5 posted 09-09-2004 09:06 PM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

That passage is exactly it.

I'm equating "perfect" with "closer to God."  Unsullied, if you will.  Wordsworth is very clear in deliniating our gradual fall from grace as we grow older and "the world is too much with us" (one of my favorite quotes, while we're on the subject).  

He also sets up God in opposition to (mother) Nature, which I find interesting if you consider the Adam and Eve parallels there:

quote:
Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a mother's mind
And no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her inmate, Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.


This passage reminds me very much of a favorite line of my rabidly religious aunt:  "You're either with God, or with the World, but never both."  It sounds simple, as sweeping generalizations usually are, but Man is not built to live on spirituality alone.  We have no choice but to live in the world, at least to some extent.  This onus becomes more pronounced as we age and are expected to shoulder more and more responsibilities, and eventually become entirely self-reliant.

Wordsworth is not quite so judgemental of the Mother as my auntie, but it's pretty clear he considers her a bad influence on Mankind, however benevolent she may be.

For an answer to your question about the value of nostalgia, let's start with your favorite line:

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting"

To me, this statement speaks more of the ignorance of children of the woes of the world rather than wisdom, which one might argue is the greater boon.  The passage you cited above describes not how the child seeks out the mysteries of life, but how they surround him of their own volition; he is able to perceive things with wonder untainted by the burdens of understanding and analysis. This simplicity and joy in life for the sake of living is what I think Wordsworth is celebrating in this poem.  To use a modern example, when we say "out of the mouths of babes," we remark on childrens' ability to perceive and state the obvious because they don't feel the need to overanalyze everything, not because they're miniature sages.

Adults, on the other hand, are more consciously spiritual beings.  Unfortunately, those two characteristics often conflict in the sense that the rule has become "more is better:" more detail, analysis, dissection, discussion, translation of even the simplest things.  We can't just enjoy life, we must know the meaning of it.  We can't watch things happen and enjoy them for their own sake - we must know why and how!  Ironically, poetry would be a perfect example.  

It is both a gift and a flaw of humanity that we hunger for knowledge in all things.  On the one hand, it has vastly improved our standard of life and consciousness; on the other, it has removed us from our appreciation for the simpler things in life.

This, I think, is what Wordsworth addresses in the last stanzas.  The tone is nostalgic but not entirely sorrowful; yes, Man has lost the innocence and wonder of childhood, but can now develop a better understanding and appreciation of that innocence.  In this, he is never completely removed from that experience, and moreover can look forward to the day when he will rejoin his Creator and live out eternity with the same awe as he experienced in the fleeting years of childhood.  He does finish on a low note, but I think the overall theme is of hope tempered by regret and longing.
Essorant
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6 posted 09-10-2004 06:55 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't have any analysis. Just wanted to post this for those that may find it easier to read on the same page.

Ode
by William Wordsworth

Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood


There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore -
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
And I again am strong.
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
And all the earth is gay;
Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every beast keep holiday -
Thou child of joy
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy shepherd-boy!

Ye blessed creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fullness of your bliss, I feel -I feel it all.
O evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herselfis adorning
This sweet May-morning;
And the children are culling
On every side
In a thousand valleys far and wide
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the Babe leaps up on his Mother's arm: -
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
- But there's a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have looked upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a mother's mind
And no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her inmate, Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years' darling of a pigmy size!
See, where 'mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses,
With light upon him from his father's eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learned art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral;
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:
Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
But it will not be long
Ere this be thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his `humorous stage'
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That life brings with her in her equipage;
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
Thy soul's immensity;
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal Mind, -
Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
On whom those truths do rest
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like a day, a master o'er a slave,
A Presence which is not to be put by;
Thou little child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being's height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lies upon thee with a weight
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That Nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest,
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast: -
Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings,
Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts, before which our mortal nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
Uphold us -cherish -and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
Nor man nor boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
Hence, in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither;
Can in a moment travel thither -
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

Then, sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound!
We, in thought, will join your throng
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts today
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

And O ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forbode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquished one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway;
I love the brooks which down their channels fret
Even more than when I tripped lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born day
Is lovely yet;
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.





I  II  III  IV  V   VI   VII   VIII   IX  X   XI

You may link to a specific stanza by adding "a href =# [ I or II, III, etc. ]".  See my      for details    

[This message has been edited by Essorant (09-10-2004 11:19 PM).]

Local Parasite
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7 posted 09-11-2004 08:50 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

Ess,

I was avoiding posting the poem because of the copywright complications that may or may not present.  I don't think Ron likes us posting entire poems from classical poets, although Wordsworth is public domain---

Skyfire,

I wanted to respond to your last comment after a few other people came in here, but I guess that's not really realistic anymore, eh?  You were probably right about the attention span.

It's funny you focus on how bad the universe is for Wordsworth.  Lately I've been reading "The Prelude" and I have actually been tabbing passages that speak to the problem of the child's relationship with nature.

It seems problematic that Wordsworth seems so absorbed in the world, and yet he makes the world seem like something that draws him away from innocence, as if he's blaming it, huh?  Well it seems like he discusses this issue in more detail throughout The Prelude.

I'm not finished it yet, but I'll share a few passages of interest thus far.  I'll refrain from comment, I just want to share them for want of understanding this brilliant man.

On second though, some of them aren't directly related to that issue but to other things we're talking about.  I'll explain them briefly after all:

quote:
Thence did I drink the visionary power;
And deem not profitless those fleeting moods
Of shadowy exultation:  not for this,
That they are kindred to our purer mind
And intellectual life; but that the soul,
Remembering how she felt, but what she felt,
Remembering not
,  retains an obscure sense
Of possible sublimity, whereto
With growing faculties she doth aspire,
With faculties still growing, feeling still
That whatsoever point they gain, they yet
Have something to pursue.(II, 311-22)


This is a good explanation of that problem we were having with whether it was the child or the man who was most capable of appreciating or loving nature?  Well, Wordsworth seems to say that he can't ever have the same closeness, or "feel" what was once "felt," but only "remember" it.  Yet there are "growing faculties" with which he can address it, something I've probably underestimated in my interpretation of the Ode.

A description of himself coming to terms with his perspective of the universe in his college years:

quote:
As if awakened, summoned, roused, constrained,
I looked for universal things; perused
The common countenance of earthy and sky:
Earth, nowhere unembellished by some trace
Of that first Paradise whence man was driven;
And sky, whose beauty and bounty are expressed
By the proud name she bears---the name of Heaven.  (III 108-14)


Would it be safe to say that, you don't know what you've got, 'til it's gone?  He compares what's lost in growing old, to Paradise, where the human race was kicked out for eating of the sacred tree of knowledge.  This is probably intended to parallel our growth from the innocent perspective of a child into the mature form of a reasoning adult who, though he can think and identify those things that are beautiful (read "Lovely is the rose" in Ode), he can no longer feel them as he once did.

Here's the thought I had on the bus ride home today.  On whether or not the Earth is to blame for man's moving away from her:

quote:
Meanwhile old grandame Earth is grieved to find
The playthings, which her love designed for him,
Unthought of: in their woodland beds the flowers
Weep, and the river sides are all forlorn.(V, 337-340)


So, it's not Earth's fault... Earth gave us wonderful things out of love (just as God did), but we forsook them as a matter of choice, just as Adam & Eve were booted from Paradise.

Another quote to support that:

quote:
There was an inner falling off---I loved,
Loved deeply all that had been loved before,
More deeply even than ever: but a swarm
Of heady schemes jostling each other, gawds,
And feasts and dance, and public revelry,
And sports and games... all conspired
To lure my mind from firm habitual quest
Of feeding pleasures, to depress the zeal
And damp those daily yearnings which had once been mine---


Does he love it more for no longer having it?  Does his distance from childhood allow him a greater fondness of those things he once had?  I think I'm starting to come to terms with the depths of his nostalgia, and the distinction he makes between being feeling something and actually loving it.  He loves things more now, though he feels them less---he can appreciate them for their absence.

But it's not Earth that draws us back, but ourselves, just as it is not God who casts us from Eden, but we who leave willing.

Hope that makes sense---
serenity blaze
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8 posted 09-11-2004 10:49 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I confess I'm a little disappointed.

I was hoping you'd do the Sandburg thing instead, but then, one of the things I love about you is that you surprise me.

But this is one of my favorites, in fact, I'd quoted it to my mother in law once. (Fat lotta good that did, too.)

But in this particular selection, what fascinates me the most is the thing I don't understand (I feel the message is fairly straightforward and yes, eloquently written)

But c'mon, Brian. Break down the meter for me!

You KNOW that's the stuff that confounds me.

C'mon. I'm whining now.
Local Parasite
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9 posted 09-11-2004 10:55 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

Serenity:

This is an "irregular" ode format but it still seems to be in iambic meter which is rather faithfully done.

Wordsworth is a whiz with the meter, and though he uses it cleverly in the poem, I don't think that should be the focus of our discussion in particular.  

I think he uses longer lines to place an emphasis, and shorter ones to have a rhythmic or musical quality.  His alexandrines all seem to resonate with some message he intends to stretch out.

Honestly, I think he was just bursting at the seams with ideas and wanted to spew out a whole lot of music without a really ordered manner... I've written irregular odes before so I think I know (somewhat) how it feels to just have a bunch of rhymes and a bunch of music to pour out onto the paper.

Hope that's better.

Send me a message on YIM... my ID is "castleofneedles"
serenity blaze
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10 posted 09-11-2004 11:08 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

(I still can't do the quote thingie, so bear with me.)

"I think he uses longer lines to place an emphasis, and shorter ones to have a rhythmic or musical quality.  His alexandrines all seem to resonate with some message he intends to stretch out."

Okay, that first bit is sort of what I was digging for in my questioning. Now I'll go look up "alexandrines"--grin--not sure what it is, but the word does have a lovely musical quality.

and OH--why wouldn't we want to discuss meter here? pouting. In fact, I'd rather hoped somebody would record this one for me--I'm still persistantly looking for audio examples of iambic. (stubborn, ain't I?)

(and thanks for the castleofneedles--sheesh, I couldn't remember your ID name to save my life. I'll look for you soon, I'm still playing "catch up" with mail and updates and such--I was away for awhile. (Thought I'd mention it since nobody noticed. )

We'll be talking soon - I'd love your advice on how to do this stuff as there's a few poems I'd like to probe too.

Hugs you, and thanks.
Sunshine
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since 06-25-99
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Listening to every heart


11 posted 09-12-2004 07:09 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

quote:
I'd rather hoped somebody would record this one for me--I'm still persistantly looking for audio examples of iambic. (stubborn, ain't I?)


I received a wonderful gift, Poetry Speaks that contain quite a few famous poets, with CD disks that hold recordings of poetry in the poet's own voice...
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1570717206/103-4105729-7836646?v=glance

Buy it...you'll LOVE it!

Brian...I'll come back to the poem soon!
merlynh
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since 09-26-1999
Posts 444
deer park, wa


12 posted 09-12-2004 06:28 PM       View Profile for merlynh   Email merlynh   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for merlynh

I have found a deeper meaning reading great writer of the past.  Though I haven’t taken the time to read Wordworth’s poems much.  Oddly while reading this post it reminded me of something I wrote earlier this year.  I’m an old writer and usually can relate to other writers; oddly enough ones of the last century, it’s almost haunting.  I feel you have a good feel for reading and understanding poems.  Writers of the last century had an absolute belief in God and it influenced their writings.


             Awakened

I never realized

the delight of pure pleasure
from a wintry flight of death and dread
all in one breath

Blinded by reason

not to see a billion lives
in one square inch not of my own.

Remembering

the child's eyes
who saw and realized it all, a life time ago

Cursed of time

has held my place and robbed my soul
for all I know
Not being able to realize reasons why

Only to know I go toward the same hole.


Copyright ©2004 Merlyn James Hearn


Michael
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13 posted 09-12-2004 09:23 PM       View Profile for Michael   Email Michael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michael

In reading this poem I could not help but be reminded of the these lines penned by Abraham Lincoln:

MY childhood's home I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There's pleasure in it, too.

O memory! thou midway world
'Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,

And, freed from all that's earthly, vile,
Seem hallowed, pure and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle
All bathed in liquid light.

As dusky mountains please the eye
When twilight chases day;
As bugle notes that, passing by,
In distance die away;

As, leaving some grand waterfall,
We, lingering, list its roar-
So memory will hallow all
We've known but know no more.

Though in my honest opinion Wordsworth is a little on the loquacious side, I still found this to be a very worthwhile poem.  I think I would have to say this poem is more a cherishing of the innocence that a child may perceive the world with than just the grieving over something we lost with the childhood perspective.   This is why I think it reminded me of Lincoln’s poem – although the memories sadden him, he finds pleasure in them as well.

Overall, I read this poem three times on a line-by-line basis.  And though Wordsworth is obviously a master of the English language, I do think he stretches his message over far more lines than were absolutely necessary to be effective.  Mind you, this is only the opinion of one who believes the highest compliment in poetry is how well the message reaches the reader, not one who has ever been impressed with perfect meter, strict forms, or some of the other values by which poetry is gauged.  I have nothing against any of the aforementioned, but I think when intent is on form rather than message, especially on a poem of such length, it makes for a much drier reading overall.
Local Parasite
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Transylconia, Winnipeg


14 posted 09-12-2004 11:38 PM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

Michael -

Wordsworth's poetry is elaborate and rich.  I guess we have different taste in poetry, if you consider him to be "loquacious."

I can appreciate subtlety, but I honestly think Wordsworth was too enthusiastic about his subject matter to bother thinning it out too terribly much.  His revised Prelude has a lot of sections he had noted "needed to be toned down," so it's not as though he's completely in the dark about how grandiose he seems at times...

This is why he earned a position as Laureate... he had enough skill to explore a topic for thousands of lines where another poet might stop at a hundred or so.  It's just his style.

Anyways, I don't think defending Wordsworth is going to get me anywhere.  Let's just agree to disagree.  
Michael
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15 posted 09-13-2004 04:22 AM       View Profile for Michael   Email Michael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michael

I have nothing against lengthy poetry at all, Brian.  Most of my all time favorites are quite lengthy as a matter of fact:  Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Byron's The Prisoner of Chillon among them.  In reading these poems, I do not feel the author striving in any way to make the poem reach a desired form.  The poem dictates the form and not vice-versa.  In Wordsworth's poem, however, that is just the way it came off to me... each reading.

Even so, as I said before, this is a worthwhile poem.  I enjoyed it-- and I especially enjoyed yours and Linda's discussion on the matter... left most of us little to analyze after that. The fact that Wordsworth can stretch a topic over that many words is no small feat, indeed.  His talents and his genius show strongly here so, really, I am not sure what you are defending.

As you said, our tastes do differ.  I just wanted to clarify to you, though, that my one critique of this poem does not mean I do not recognize it, or Wordsworth in general, for the great contribution to literature they are.
Local Parasite
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since 11-05-2001
Posts 2929
Transylconia, Winnipeg


16 posted 09-13-2004 08:02 AM       View Profile for Local Parasite   Email Local Parasite   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Local Parasite's Home Page   View IP for Local Parasite

Sorry to jump the gun like that.  Wordsworth's one of my favourites, and I am so used to hearing people accuse him of being bloated and wordy, that my natural response is to jump up and take a stand.  

Didn't mean to come off as being so offended.  

"God becomes as we are that we may be as he is."  ~William Blake

Michael
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17 posted 09-13-2004 06:29 PM       View Profile for Michael   Email Michael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michael

So, who's next?

Yeats anybody?
LoveBug
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18 posted 09-21-2004 07:28 PM       View Profile for LoveBug   Email LoveBug   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LoveBug

I really enjoyed this poem. As opposed to Poe, this poem has a very joyful overtone. Yes, there is some nostalgia for the past, wistfullness, esc.. but it's all taken into measure. He sees that the natural progression of life is what is beautiful, although he sometimes longs for his childhood. I also like this:

"Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings,
Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts, before which our mortal nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,"

He is more thankful for the darker mysteries and memories of life than the obvious beauties.

Very nice stuff.. I'd like to start a discussion on a poem by Anne Sexton, is thats ok, sometime soon..

Oh, make me Thine forever
And should I fainting be
Lord, let me never ever
Outlive my love for Thee
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