On Poetry and Culture Shock

And the daffodils look lovely today

And the daffodils look lovely today In Aberdeen (Scotland), daffodils are wild flowers, growing like weeds in unexpected places. I have seen them in a dumpster next to the railroad tracks. In Ithaca they are in the process of becoming wild, but it is still possible to guess where people planted them initially. They mostly bloom in polite lines along sidewalks, and they remind me of Aberdeen, making me homesick of a place where I never belonged.

Wordsworth’s famous daffodil poem, stereotypically Romantic, verges on Bécquer’s nauseating sentimentality. Even so, it supported me at one of the toughest times in my life. Here you have a bunch of pretty daffodils, because things are never as hard as they seem. Enjoy.

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.

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