Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 by William Wordsworth (1802)

I'm trying to listen to / read more poetry.  I think poetry is good for the soul (generally) but it's also frustratingly enigmatic; it's not always obvious, and takes thought, and frankly, just plain doesn't make sense sometimes, especially without some background or pre-knowledge.  I am pretty sure I will fail at this endeavor - I've tried this before.  But I thought if I found one to listen to every day on the Internet, that might make it easier.

I also was listening to a podcast - In Our Time - about the year without a summer, 1815.  And during that summer, Shelley, Mary Shelley, and Byron (maybe Keats too?  I dont' remember) all went to Switzerland, only they could never go outside because of the awful weather, and they ran out of books to read and got tired of talking to me another, so they told each other ghost stories they had written - which is turn led to Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein.  Someone on the pod mentioned Wordsworth - I do not know why. I remember studying all of these poets in college, but I didn't recall much about them.  I know they were all romantics, I know they wrote about nature.  I started thinking how sad it was that I was never going to be in college again, and never have someone to explain Wordsworth and company to me - I was on my own.  I would never understand these poets then. But I could try.  So I decided to read and then listen to some Wordsworth poetry.

I first started with the daffodils poem, which I remembered  and liked immensely.  Very beautiful.  

But then because I'm reading a book about the descendants of Queen Victoria (re-reading, actually),line of whom was Marie of Romania, I detoured (already) into a poem by Dorothy Parker I recalled that had the line "and I am the Queen of Roumania."  It's called Comment, it's as snarky as you would expect from Dorothy Parker.

So randomly this morning, I find Composed upon "Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802", being read aloud HERE (PUT LINK HERE). I always thought Wordsworth was a nature poet, but this poem is really about how beautiful London is in the morning.  I guess Wordsworth is trying to tell us that you can find beauty anywhere, you just have to stop and look for it.  Also, he says "Dull would he be of soul who could pass by / A sight so touching in its majesty" which means "only a dullard could not look upon this and see beauty" which is how I feel sometimes about a segment of my fellow humankind; it's interesting to note that dullards have lived among us at least since 1802.  As a city dweller who appreciates and often missed the countryside (an aside:  I hate camping; as much a I love nature, I want to go home when at the end of the day and cook in a kitchen and sleep in a bed), I felt like Wordsworth was talking to me - look for the beauty.  I try, I think - appreciating flowers, small birds, crows, etc.  You take beauty where you can find it.


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