September 9, 2010

A Poem for the Day: "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by William Wordsworth

Summer is coming to an end, and fall will be here before we know it.  Interestingly, over the past few days two of my friends ('Thanks!' Jan and Dixie) each reminded me of a poem written in 1804 by William Wordsworth (1770-1850) that has always been a favorite of mine, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud (also known as Daffodils).  I love this poem!  It is a 'cup that simply and eloquently overflows with joy' every time I read it.  I thought that it might be nice to ease into the coming fall with a sublime memory of the summer we are leaving behind by posting the poem and sharing it with all of you.

I am also featuring a beautiful ceramic tile that was designed by Walter Crane (1845-1915).  Crane was an illustrator of books and loved graphic design, and was greatly influenced by the artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  Crane, an Englishman, very much embraced the "Arts and Crafts" movement that flourished in England between 1880 and about 1910; and, in fact, became the first president of the "Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in 1887.  Crane developed this design for the tile (at upper right) that was then prepared as a glazed ceramic tile by the Pilkington Tile and Pottery Co. Earthenware, and is thought to be circa 1900.  If you are interested in the English Arts and Crafts movement, I thoroughly recommend A.S. Byatt's recent novel, The Children's Book (2009).  Somehow this tile just reminds me of Wordsworth's beautiful poem.  Can you imagine having the back-splash of your kitchen, or the surround of your fireplace made up of this beautiful motif? ['Click' on the image for a larger view of this beautiful tile]

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

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.




  1. What a wonderful poem. You've had a lot of really good poetry on here makes me think I should start reading them too. :)

  2. What an awesome comment, SocrMom78! Thank you! I hope you will start reading some poetry too. To me, it is the highest form of art, most certainly in the world of literature. A truly wonderful and relatively recent poetry anthology is Harold Bloom's The Best Poems of the English Language: From Chaucer Through Frost. New York: 2004. ISBN 0-06-054041-9

    Enjoy! And thanks for the visit! Cheers! Chris

  3. Hi Chris,
    You are right about both comments. The tile is gorgeous but it's too beautiful to have it as backsplash in the kitchen as you said. It'd be better appreciated above the fireplace. If the design could be replicated on a stained glass, I bet it'd be amazing when the sun rays hit the image. Now on to the poem. This poem is delicate, evocative, romantic, descriptive, just perfect. No wonder is one of your favorites. You don't need your English professor to explain what it means. It's musical and vivid. Poetry has to move me for me to really appreciate it. As I told you in my previous comment, I don't understand modern poetry, you know, our contemporaries. But poets like Wordsworth, E.A. Poe, Emily Dickinson, R.W. Emerson, and Carver cannot be imitated. Great poem to bid farewell to summer.

  4. Great poem and the daffodil imagery is so evocative! I shall read it in the winter when snow is on the ground and dream of summer (one that is not hotter than the hinges of hell as you are wont to say) but blissfully pleasant.

  5. Chris, I will have to check that out. I love Frost. For some reason I am really drawn to the Hardy stuff you've had on here. Do you have any particular recommendations for any of his poems?

  6. @ Claudia, Jersey Girl, and SocrMom, I very much appreciate your visit and comments!

    SocrMom, I sent you an email with a listing of just a few of my favorite Thomas Hardy poems, but I will also include it here in case others are interested too. I have selected sixteen that I believe are very representative of his poetry. I am going to list them by: Number, as listed in James Gibson's variorum edition of Thomas Hardy: The Complete Poems, Palgrave, 2001; the title of the poem; and my brief commentary. So, here they are--

    9 Neutral Tones (deeply emotional)
    48 The Bride-Night Fire (like a short story)
    60 Drummer Hodge (a young British soldier killed in the Boer War, makes one think of our troops in Afghanistan or Iraq)
    128 The Milkmaid (see Hardy's novel, Tess of the d'Urbervilles)
    153 A Trampwoman's Tragedy (a wonderful, lyrical and tragic tale)
    163 Autumn in King's Hintock Park (lovely and bittersweet)
    218 The Roman Road ( a story of a mother and her little son)
    225 The Pine Planters (see Hardy's novel, The Woodlanders)
    269 Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave? (comical, but also bittersweet)
    324 The Moth-Signal (see Hardy's novel, The Return of the Native)
    329 The Roman Gravemounds (poignantly beautiful)
    556 At Lulworth Cove a Century Back (inspired by the English poet, John Keats)
    796 The Paphian Ball (the ultimate 'spooky' Halloween tale)
    843 The Son's Portrait (sadly poignant)
    864 An Evening in Galilee (an interesting take of the story of Jesus Christ)
    866 We Field-Women (see Hardy's novel, Tess of the d'Urbervilles)