1049: [I wandered lonely as a Cloud] or Daffodils

1049: [I wandered lonely as a Cloud] or Daffodils

1049: [I wandered lonely as a Cloud] or Daffodils


MAJOR: This fall, I spoke with listeners at the Twin Cities Book Festival about the place of poetry in their lives. This week, we’re sharing their stories.

MÉLINA: I am Mélina Mangal and I live in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I'm a children's author, so I write primarily for children. I write picture books, I also write biographies, and I write short stories for young people. And I also write some young adults, and I have written some adult short stories as well. So I just, I love writing.

Poetry for me is a solace when I'm going through tough times or when I'm stuck. I turn to poetry to help me re-center and re-direct my thoughts, to help me sometimes get in tune more with my own feelings and thoughts. To help me appreciate language as well.

I love using poetry with my students and also just as practice. Because there's nothing like a poem to help you get into the depth of words and the range of words that are available out there. So, it's both a tool but also a comfort for me.

MYKA: I’m producer Myka Kielbon.

When working with poetry is your job, like it is mine, sometimes it becomes more tedium and less solace. I find myself needing a break, or… wanting to break something. If I’m smart (or, urged on by a friend) I’ll go for a walk. And lately, when I do, the sky has seemed so big and beautiful that the clouds have made me cry. I can see the rolling hills of the cemetery in the distance, and the mountains beyond that. And even if the sun has set, the smell of the evening and the motion of my legs on the pavement can set me free. Once I start walking out in the fresh air, everything feels alive again, even thoughts and memories that were stagnant in my mind just hours before.

And then, when I come back to the poems on my desk it’s like they open themselves for me, and the words of the poets are alive, too. I remember that even when poems are about the worst things in the human experience — war, grief, hatred — they still carry the joy of language, of this malleable universe of noises and symbols that allows us to express the pains and the pleasures.

Today’s poem is by a poet famous, in his time, for using what was called “plain language.” It still sounds a bit… formal today, but the images ring timeless and true, personifying nature as full of joy in a way that pulls the speaker, and the reader, out of their own heads.

[I wandered lonely as a Cloud]
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 shew 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.